Murphy, Edward L.; Wilks, Rainford J.; Morgan, Owen St C.; Hanchard, Barrie; Cranston, Beverley; Figueroa ,J.Peter; Gibbs, W.Nigel; Murphy, Jacquelyn J.; Blattner, William A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Tropical Metabolism Research Unit
Health effects of human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) in a Jamaican cohort
International Journal of Epidemiology
Date of Publication
Other than adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) and HTLV-I associated myelopathy (HAM), the health effects of infection with human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) are not well defined. A cohort of 201 confirmed HTLV-I seropositive Jamaican food service workers and 225 seronegative controls of similar age and sex from the same population was examined. A health questionnaire, physical examination, and laboratory tests were performed at enrollment into the cohort in 1987-1988. One of 201 HTLV-I seropositives, but no controls were diagnosed with HAM, for a prevalence of 0.5% (95% confidence interval) (CI) 0.01-2.7%); no cases of ATL were diagnosed. While there was no difference in current symptoms, the HTLV-I seropositive group was more likely to report a past medical history of hepatitis or jaundice (OR = 3.49, 95% CI: 0.93-13.08), malaria (OR = 2.13, 95% CI: 0.96-4.73), and dengue fever (OR = 1.37, 95% CI: 0.82- 2.29); however, these differences were of borderline statistical significance. Low income HTLV-I seropositive women had lower body weight (P < 0.01) and body mass index (P < 0.009) than their seronegative counterparts; similar differences were seen in the smaller male group. A trend toward higher prevalence of severe anaemia (haemoglobin < 10 g/dl) (12.6% versus 7.7%, P < 0.105) and a significantly lower prevalence of eosinophilia (1.0% versus 6.3%, P < 0.004) was seen among HTLV-I seropositives compared to controls. Although most HTLV-I seropositives are asymptomatic, HAM may be diagnosed in approximately 0.5% of carriers. Chronic HTLV-I infection may also exert subtle effects on body mass and haematological parameters....