Maloney, Elizabeth M.; Wiktor, Stefan Z.; Palmer, Paulette; Cranston, Beverley; Pate, Ernest J.; Cohn, Sylvia; Kim, Norma; Miley, Wendell J.; Thomas, Terry l.; Blattner, William A.; Hanchard, Barrie
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Pathology
A Cohort Study of Health Effects of Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type I Infection in Jamaican Children
Date of Publication
OBJECTIVE: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) infection in childhood is believed to play an important role in risk for adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Although HTLV-I is known to be associated with infective dermatitis in childhood, other HTLV-I-associated morbidity in children has not been well studied. We sought to determine the HTLV-I-associated health effects in Jamaican children. METHODS: We compared incidence rates of several health outcomes in 28 HTLV-I-infected and 280 uninfected children clinically followed from age 6 weeks to a maximum of 10 years. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to analyze these prospectively collected data, adjusting for confounding effects of other variables as necessary. RESULTS: HTLV-I-infected children had significantly higher incidence rates of seborrheic dermatitis (rate ratio [RR] = 4.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.9-12.5), eczema (RR = 3.1, CI = 1.2-7.9) and persistent hyperreflexia (RR = 3.7, CI = 1.6-8.2). Additionally, HTLV-I infected children had increased rates of severe anemia (RR = 2.5, CI = 0.8-7.9) and abnormal lymphocytes (RR = 2.4, CI = 0.8-7.6) that were of borderline statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that HTLV-I-associated skin diseases of childhood may include seborrheic dermatitis and eczema. Additionally, these data suggest that persistent hyperreflexia of the lower limbs may be an early sign of HTLV-I-associated neurologic involvement in children. Expansion and continued clinical observation of this cohort would be valuable.....