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Free Content HTLV-1 infection is frequent among out-patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in northern Lima, Peru

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SETTING: Tuberculosis (TB) and human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1) are frequent in Peru. The prevalence of HTLV-1 among Peruvian TB patients is unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of HTLV-1, HTLV-2 and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in out-patients with TB and to compare HTLV-1-infected patients with seronegative patients.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study including subjects aged 18–65 years diagnosed with smear-positive pulmonary TB at health centres in northern Lima from November 2004 to August 2005. HTLV and HIV screening was performed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 were confirmed using line immunoassay.

RESULTS: There were 311 participants with a median age of 29 years; 173 (56%) were men. HTLV-1 prevalence was 5.8% (18/311, 95%CI 3.2–8.4) and HIV prevalence was 1.3% (4/304, 95%CI 0.4–3.3). HTLV-2 was not diagnosed. In comparison with HIV- and HTLV-seronegative patients, HTLV-1-infected subjects were older (median age 44 vs. 28, P < 0.001) and were more likely to have been born in the southern Andes (OR 4.4, 95%CI 1.6–11.9). They were also more likely to report a history of TB deaths in the family (OR 5.4, 95%CI 1.7–16.8) and had more sputum smear results graded as 3+ (OR 4.1, 95%CI 1.5–11.2).

CONCLUSION: HTLV-1 screening among Peruvian TB patients is important. Because 3+ sputum smears are frequent and mortality is high among relatives, families of HTLV-1/TB-positive cases merit special attention.
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Keywords: HIV; Peru; human T-lymphotropic virus; prevalence; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; Virology Unit, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium 2: Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru 3: Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; and Division of Infectious Disease and International Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 4: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Lima, Peru 5: Dirección de Salud III, Lima, Peru 6: Virology Unit, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; and Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Publication date: 01 October 2007

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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