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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0037-8682


SOUZA, Verônica Guimarães de et al. High prevalence of HTLV-1 and 2 viruses in pregnant women in São Luis, state of Maranhão, Brazil. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. [online]. 2012, vol.45, n.2, pp.159-162. ISSN 0037-8682.

INTRODUCTION: Human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is endemic in the Caribbean, Japan, South America and regions of Africa. HTLV-2 is present in Native American populations and associated with IV drug use in Europe and North America. In Brazil, it is estimated that 1.5 million people are infected with HTLV-1/2. The study objective was to determine HTLV-1/2 prevalence in pregnant women in the prenatal care from three public services in São Luis, State of Maranhão, Brazil, and to counsel seropositive women to reduce viral transmission. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted from February to December 2008; women with age of 18 to 45 years, with low risk for sexually transmitted disease (STD) were invited to participate. Blood samples were collected in filter paper, and HTLV-1/2 immunoenzymatic test (ELISA) was performed as a screening test. Women with reactive results were submitted to peripheral venous blood collection for ELISA repetition, followed by Western blot (WB) and real-time PCR to confirm and discriminate the infection between virus types 1 and 2. RESULTS: Of the 2,044 women tested, seven (0.3%) were ELISA reactive and confirmed positive (four were HTLV-1, and three were HTLV-2). All positive women were oriented not to breastfeed their newborns. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the virus is present in high prevalence in that population. Further studies covering other segments of the population are necessary to better characterize the presence of HTLV-1/2 in Maranhão and to elicit measures to prevent its spread.

Keywords : HTLV-1/2; Pregnancy; Prevalence; Maranhão; Brazil.

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