In the mid-1970s, retroviruses had been discovered in many vertebrate species, including apes. The hypothesis that humans may also be infected with retroviruses led to a search that ultimately resulted in the isolation of a retrovirus from the cell lines and blood of patients with adult T-cell leukemia. This virus is called Human T-cell lymphotropic Virus (HTLV-I). HTLV-I has been linked to a paralytic disease that occurs in the tropics (Caribbean islands) called tropical spastic paraparesis. HTLV-I induced leukemia has also been described in the Caribbean and Japan (1, 2). A second human retrovirus was isolated from T-cells of patients with a T-cell variant of hairy cell leukemia, called HTLV-II, but this virus has no known role in producing disease (3).
Modes of HTLV-I transmission routes are similar to those for HIV and include sexual contact, transfusion of infected blood and blood products, and maternal-child (3). HTLV-I is transmitted from infected women to their offspring predominantly via breast milk, with seroconversion occurring in 18-26% of the breastfed offspring (4–6).
Herein we present a case of a middle aged female of no significant past medical history, with HTLV-I and lymphoma who presented with constitutional symptoms.
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