Increased mortality associated with HTLV-II infection in blood donors: a prospective cohort study. Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: HTLV-I is associated with adult T-cell leukemia, and both HTLV-I and -II are associated with HTLV-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Several published reports suggest that HTLV-I may lead to decreased survival, but HTLV-II has not previously been associated with mortality. RESULTS: We examined deaths among 138 HTLV-I, 358 HTLV-II, and 759 uninfected controls enrolled in a prospective cohort study of U.S. blood donors followed biannually since 1992. Proportional hazards models yielded hazard ratios (HRs) for the association between mortality and HTLV infection, controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, age, income, educational level, blood center, smoking, injection drug use history, alcohol intake, hepatitis C status and autologous donation. After a median follow-up of 8.6 years, there were 45 confirmed subject deaths. HTLV-I infection did not convey a statistically significant excess risk of mortality (unadjusted HR 1.9, 95%CI 0.8-4.4; adjusted HR 1.9, 95%CI 0.8-4.6). HTLV-II was associated with death in both the unadjusted model (HR 2.8, 95%CI 1.5-5.5) and in the adjusted model (HR 2.3, 95%CI 1.1-4.9). No single cause of death appeared responsible for the HTLV-II effect. CONCLUSIONS: After adjusting for known and potential confounders, HTLV-II infection is associated with increased mortality among healthy blood donors. If replicated in other cohorts, this finding has implications for both HTLV pathogenesis and counseling of infected persons.


  • Orland, Jennie R
  • Wang, Baoguang
  • Wright, David J
  • Nass, Catharie C
  • Garratty, George
  • Smith, James
  • Newman, Bruce
  • Smith, Donna M
  • Murphy, Edward L

publication date

  • 2004