Background: Several studies carried out in the USA and in Europe have shown the presence of HTLV-I/II antibodies in subjects belonging to high-risk groups for HIV infection as well as blood donors. Concern about the presence of HTLV-I/II markers in the normal population, as well as the efficient transmission of HTLV-I/II by whole blood or infected blood cells have led several countries to include screening for anti-HTLV-I/II among the mandatory serological testing of blood donors. Objective: In order to assess the risk of HTLV-I/II infection related to blood transfusions, a multicentric survey for antibodies against HTLV-I and HTLV-II was carried out involving 10 Italian sites during the spring of 1991. Study design: Serum specimens were collected from 14,598 blood donors, 1,411 injecting drug users, 1,015 thalassemics, 142 hemophiliacs and 138 hemodialysis patients. HTLV antibodies were detected by a screening EIA which combines a viral lysate with a recombinant HTLV-I env protein (p21e). The serological confirmation was performed by a semi-automated dot-blot immunoassay that detects gag p19 and p24 and env p21e specific antibodies, while the discrimination of HTLV-I and HTLV-II reactivities was carried out by EIAs employing synthetic peptides of the ENV region specific for each virus. Results: The seroprevalence of confirmed positives was 0.034% among blood donors and 3.61% among IDUs, while no sample of the other categories could be confirmed, although several were indeterminate and one thalassemic reacted against HTLV-I on peptide testing. HTLV-I reactivity was observed in one blood donor, while all 38 of the 51 confirmed seropositive IDU's reacted only to the HTLV-II synthetic peptide. Conclusions: These data confirm a high prevalence of HTLV-II among Italian IDUs and show an HTLV-I/II seroprevalence among blood donors very similar to that which was found in the USA volunteer blood donors. A surveillance program among blood donors seems advisable in order to establish the possible need of a mandatory screening for HTLV-I/II.
|Titolo:||A multicentric seroepidemiological survey of HTLV-I/II in Italy|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore MED/42 - Igiene Generale e Applicata|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1994|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/0928-0197(94)90018-3|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|