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Co-presentation of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1)-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis and adult-onset infective dermatitis associated with HTLV-1 infection


  • Prof. Sanches and Prof. Casseb were both Senior Investigators of this study.

Jorge Casseb, md, phd
Laboratory of Investigation in Dermatology and Immunodeficiencies – LIM56
Dr. Eneas de Carvalho Aguiar Avenue, 470
3rd Floor of IMT II Building 05403-000
São Paulo, SP


Background  Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the etiologic agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), infective dermatitis associated with HTLV-1 (IDH), and various other clinical conditions. Several of these diseases can occur in association.

Objective  Report an association of diseases related to HTLV-1 infection, occurring in an unusual age group.

Methods  Dermatological and laboratory exams were consecutively performed in HTLV-1-infected individuals from January 2008 to July 2010 in the HTLV Outpatient Clinic at the Institute of Infectious Diseases “Emilio Ribas” in São Paulo, Brazil.

Results  A total of 193 individuals (73 HAM/TSP and 120 asymptomatic carriers) were evaluated, three of which were associated with adult-onset IDH and HAM/TSP. In all three cases, the patients were affected by IDH after the development and progression of HAM/TSP-associated symptoms.

Limitations  Small number of cases because of the rarity of these diseases.

Conclusion  We draw attention to the possibility of co-presentation of adult-onset IDH in patients with a previous diagnosis of HAM/TSP, although IDH is a disease classically described in children. Thus, dermatologists should be aware of these diagnoses in areas endemic for HTLV-1 infection.

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