Six months after receiving 58 units of blood components, a 65-year-old white man from New York City, with no other risk factors for human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) infection, developed HTLV-I-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Investigation of blood donors identified a 25-year-old white Hispanic woman from Florida whose platelets had been given to the patient and who was seropositive for the virus on a serum specimen obtained 2 years after the donation. She was born in Cuba and had had 2 sexual relationships with men who either had been born in or had resided in the Caribbean. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) studies of peripheral blood mononuclear cells indicated that both donor and recipient were infected with HTLV-I. Molecular studies of a 595-nucleotide sequence in the 5' envelope region of HTLV-I indicated that the viruses from donor and recipient were identical in each of 32 positions in which published HTLV-I sequences demonstrate molecular heterogeneity; the donor and recipient viruses were also identical in 2 additional positions in which they differed from all published sequences. Transfusion-associated HAM/TSP has occurred in the United States, but additional cases should be prevented by screening blood donations for HTLV-I. Molecular studies of HTLV-I may prove useful in defining the genetic heterogeneity of HTLV-I isolates in the United States and in studying transmission of this virus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology