Transfusion medicine
Transfusion transmitted disease
HTLV and transfusion

Topic Completed: 1 October 2011

Revised: 8 April 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: HTLV and transfusion "loattrfree full text"[sb] treatment

Huy Phu Pham, M.D., M.P.H.
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Table of Contents
Definition / general
Cite this page: Pham HP HTLV and transfusion. website. Accessed June 25th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • HTLV is transmitted by vertical transmission from mother to child, breast feeding, sexual relations, parenteral exposure
  • HTLV1 infects mostly CD4+ lymphocytes while HTLV2 infects preferentially CD8+ lymphocytes
  • HIV was originally called HTLV-III but no longer; HTLV3 describes another virus
  • In U.S., seroprevalence is 10 - 20 per 100,000 donors
  • Prevalence in donors:
  • HTLV1 is associated with adult T cell leukemia / lymphoma; endemic in Caribbean and parts of Africa, Japan, South America
  • Transfusion of RBCs, platelets and whole blood but not FFP, have led to seroconversion of recipients
  • In U.S., seroconversion rates are 14 - 30% in recipients of seropositive cellular components
  • Risk of transfusion transmission is 1 per 3 million products transfused
  • Most positive donors are asymptomatic
  • HTLVI is rare in U.S.; HTLV2 is common in IV drug users in U.S.
  • Donors in U.S. are tested for HTLV1 and 2
  • Leukoreduction may be effective in removing HTLV (Transfusion 2004;44:42 but see Blood 2002;100:677)
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