Infectious complications of human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type infection

Author(s): Marsh BJ


Infection with human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type I (HTLV-I) has been etiologically associated with two diseases: adult T cell leukemia and HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis. Increasing evidence suggests that HTLV-I infection may be associated with immunosuppression and, as a consequence, affect the risk and expression of several other infectious diseases, of which the best studied are strongyloidiasis, tuberculosis, and leprosy. In strongyloidiasis, coinfection with HTLV-I appears to result in a higher rate of chronic carriage, an increased parasite load, and a risk of more severe infection. In tuberculosis, a decrease in delayed-type hypersensitivity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been established, but whether this decrease is clinically significant has yet to be determined. In leprosy, an increased risk of disease is suggested, but the published studies are all too poorly controlled to draw definite conclusions.

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