Sex Transm Infect doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050594
  • Epidemiology
  • Short report

HTLV-1 cosmopolitan and HTLV-2 subtype b among pregnant women of non-endemic areas of Argentina

  1. Mirna M Biglione1
  1. 1Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas en Retrovirus y SIDA (INBIRS), Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2Hospital Materno-Infantil “Ramón Sardá”, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. 3Hospital “Pedro Fiorito”, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  4. 4Hospital “Guillermo Rawson”, San Juan, Argentina
  5. 5Hospital “Horacio Heller”, Neuquén, Argentina
  6. 6Hospital “Eduardo Castro Rendón”, Neuquén, Argentina
  7. 7Hospital Regional Ushuaia “Ernesto M. Campos”, Ushuaia, Argentina
  1. Correspondence to Dr Carolina A Berini, Instituto de Investigaciones, Biomédicas sobre Retrovirus y SIDA (INBIRS), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos, Aires. Paraguay 2155, Piso 11, Buenos Aires C1121ABG, Argentina; cberini{at}
  • Accepted 29 October 2012
  • Published Online First 8 December 2012


Objectives The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-1/2, HIV-1, hepatitis B virus (HBV), Trypanosoma cruzi, Treponema pallidum and Toxoplasma gondii infections and to identify the subtypes/subgroups of HTLV-1/2 among pregnant women (PW) from non-endemic provinces of Argentina.

Methods Methods A total of 2403 samples were screened for HTLV-1/2 and confirmed by western blot and PCR. The long terminal repeat (LTR) of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 were amplified. Phylogenetic analysis was performed by Neighbour Joining by using molecular evolutionary genetics analysis (MEGA) 4.0.

Results Among a total of 2403 PW studied, 6 (0.25%) tested positive for HTLV-1/2 (3 HTLV-1 (0.12%) and 3 HTLV-2 (0.12%)). The total prevalence when distributed by province was 0.3% (3/804) for Buenos Aires (BA), 0.4% (1/241) for BA surroundings, 0.1% (1/707) for Neuquen and 1.0% (1/95) for Ushuaia. In San Juan, no PW were HTLV-1/2 positive. The prevalence was similar when compared with rates among blood donors of the same areas and years. The phylogenetic analysis classified one sequence as HTLV-1 aA and one as HTLV-2b. The prevalence of HIV-1, HBV, T cruzi, T pallidum and T gondii was 0.6%, 0.2%, 1.4%, 1.2% and 20.9%, respectively. One case of HTLV-1/HIV-1 and one of HTLV-2/HIV-1 co-infection were detected.

Conclusions HTLV-1/2, which have been associated with different diseases, are circulating among PW of Argentina, even in non-endemic areas. Therefore, testing should be recommended in women who have risk factors for these infections given that the majority of HTLV-1/2 mother to child transmission can be prevented by the avoidance of breast feeding.

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