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Transmission of HTLV-II

Terence Chorba, MD
JAMA. 1986;256(22):3094. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380220060015.
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To the Editor.—  A recent article by Robert-Guroff et al1 reported a high prevalence of antibodies specific for human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II (HTLV-II) in intravenous drug users studied in New York City. Serological evidence of infection with this virus has also been reported among intravenous drug users in Britain.2 These are alarming reports, because HTLV-II has only been isolated in a total of four patients, two of whom were members of groups considered at risk for infection with hepatitis B virus and HTLV-III: one was a known intravenous drug user3 and one was a patient with severe hemophilia A.4 Although the role of HTLV-II in human disease remains obscure, the observation of a high prevalence of antibodies to HTLV-II in intravenous drug users and the fact that two of the four persons from whom HTLV-II has been isolated had multiple potential exposures to blood-borne


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