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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946


QUISPE, Nadia Carmela Santos; FERIA, Edwin Bengoa; SANTOS-FORTUNA, Elizabeth de los  and  CATERINO-DE-ARAUJO, Adele. Confirming the presence of HTLV-1 infection and the absence of HTLV-2 in blood donors from Arequipa, Peru. Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo [online]. 2009, vol.51, n.1, pp.25-29. ISSN 1678-9946.

Epidemiological studies conducted in Peru disclosed HTLV-1 to be prevalent in different ethnic groups, and found HTLV-2 in some Amazonian Indians and in men who have sex with men. No data concerning HTLV-1/2 infection in blood donors from Arequipa, a highlands region in southern Peru, is available. We searched for the presence of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 antibodies in 2,732 serum samples obtained from blood donors from this geographic area. HTLV-1/2-specific antibodies were detected using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and were confirmed by Western blot (WB). Reactive sera had their blood bags discarded from donation, and the demographic characteristics of the donors were analyzed. Thirty-five sera (1.2%) were HTLV seroreactive by ELISA, and 25 were confirmed HTLV-1-positive by WB. One serum disclosed HTLV-positivity, and the remaining nine serum samples showed indeterminate results by WB; three of which had an HTLV-1 indeterminate Gag profile. The median age of HTLV-positive individuals was 34.6 years; 27 were male and eight were female. All individuals were from southern Peru: 27 from Arequipa, five from Puno, and three from Cuzco. HTLV co-positivity with hepatitis B (five sera) and syphilis (one serum) were detected. Previous transfusion and tattooing were observed in two and one individuals, respectively. No serum was positive for HTLV/HIV co-infection. This study confirmed, for the first time, HTLV-1 infection and the absence of HTLV-2 infection in blood donors from Arequipa, Peru and suggests vertical transmission as the major route of HTLV-1 transmission and acquisition in this geographic region.

Keywords : Human T cell lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1); HTLV-2; Serology; Blood donors; Peru.

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