HTLV-1 is rare in Far North Queensland despite a significant burden of classically associated diseases

HTLV-1 is rare in Far North Queensland despite a significant burden of classically associated diseases Journal Article

Pathology

  • Author(s): Smith, Simon, Russell, Darren, Horne, Peter, Hanson, Josh
  • Published: 2019
  • Volume: 51
  • ISBN: 0031-3025

Abstract: Summary Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is hyperendemic amongst Indigenous Australians living in Central Australia. The epidemiology of the disease is poorly defined in other parts of Australia, despite a high prevalence of classically associated conditions. All HTLV-1 serology tests requested through public health facilities in Far North Queensland (FNQ) from January 1999 to December 2016 were reviewed. The person's age, sex, ethnicity, location, rationale for testing and result were recorded. There were 444 tests performed in 409 people; 217 (53%) were male; 171 (42%) identified as Indigenous Australians. Testing increased over time and was performed throughout the region, suggesting increasing awareness of the disease. Testing occurred in patients with haematological, neurological, dermatological and respiratory complaints, but only four (1%) had proven infection. Three of these individuals were in the same family and two were asymptomatic. One of the two symptomatic seropostive individuals had recurrent scabies infection, the other T-cell lymphoma. HTLV-1 infection is extremely uncommon in FNQ. The high rates of bronchiectasis and other associated conditions that are seen in the region are more likely to be addressed by public health policies focusing on the socioeconomic determinants of health.

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Suggested Citation
Smith, Simon, Russell, Darren, Horne, Peter, Hanson, Josh, 2019, HTLV-1 is rare in Far North Queensland despite a significant burden of classically associated diseases, Volume:51, Journal Article, viewed 16 October 2019, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14222.

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