Descriptive study of HTLV infection in a population of pregnant women from the state of Pará, Northern Brazil

Estudo descritivo da infecção pelo HTLV em uma população de gestantes do Estado do Pará, norte do Brasil

INTRODUCTION: In Brazil, studies have shown that HTLV seroprevalence among pregnant women varies from 0 to 1.8%. However, this seroprevalence was unknown in the State of Pará, Brazil. The present study describes, for the first time, the HTLV seroprevalence among pregnant women from the State of Pará, Northern Brazil. METHODS: 13,382 pregnant women were submitted to HTLV screening during prenatal care, and those with non-seronegative results to anti-HTLV were submitted to Western blot (WB) test to confirm and separate HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 carriers. RESULTS: HTLV seroprevalence in the population of pregnant women was 0.3%, and HTLV-1 was identified in 95.3% of patients. The demographic profile of HTLV carriers was as follows: women with age between 20 and 40 years old (78.4%); residing in the metropolitan region of Belém, Pará (67.6%); and with educational level of high school (56.8%). Other variables related to infection were as follows: beginning of sexual intercourse between the age of 12 and 18 years old (64.9%) and have being breastfed for more than 6 months (51.4%). Most of the women studied had at least two previous pregnancies (35.1%) and no abortion (70.3%). Coinfections (syphilis and HIV) were found in 10.8% (4/37) of these pregnant women. CONCLUSIONS: Seroprevalence of HTLV infection in pregnant women assisted in basic health units from the State of Pará, Northern Brazil, was 0.3% similar to those described in other Brazilian studies. The variables related to infection were important indicators in identifying pregnant women with a higher tendency to HTLV seropositivity, being a strategy for disease control and prevention, avoiding vertical transmission.

HTLV; Pregnant women; Seroprevalence

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