Low #prevalence of #HTLV1/2 #infection in a population of #immigrants living in southern #Italy (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Low prevalence of HTLV1/2 infection in a population of immigrants living in southern Italy

Loredana Alessio, Carmine Minichini, Mario Starace, Laura Occhiello, Mara Caroprese, Giovanni Di Caprio, Caterina Sagnelli, Luciano Gualdieri, Mariantonietta Pisaturo, Lorenzo Onorato, Gaetano Scotto, Margherita Macera, Stefania De Pascalis, Evangelista Sagnelli, Nicola Coppola

Published: June 25, 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006601 / This is an uncorrected proof.




To assess the prevalence of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 infections in a cohort of immigrants living in southern Italy.


We screened for antibody to HTLV-1/2 infection 1,498 consecutive immigrants born in endemic areas (sub-Saharan Africa or southern-Asia) by a commercial chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. If confirmed in a Western blot assay, which differentiates anti-HTLV-1 from anti-HTLV-2, the positive sera were tested for specific HTLV RNA by a home-made PCR. The immigrants investigated were more frequently males (89.05%), young (median age 26 years), with a low level of education (median schooling 6 years), born in sub-Saharan Africa (79.70%). They had been living in Italy for a median period of 5 months. Only one (0.07%) subject was anti-HTLV-1 -positive/HTLV-1 RNA-negative; he was an asymptomatic 27-year-old male from Nigeria with 6 years’ schooling who stated unsafe sexual habits and unsafe injection therapy.


The data suggest screening for HTLV1 and HTLV-2 infections all blood donors to Italy from endemic countries at least on their first donation; however, a cost-effectiveness study is needed to clarify this topic.


Author summary

As in Italy the immigrants constitute one tenth of the whole population and its contribution to blood donation is strongly desired we believe that to start screening for HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 infections in all donors from endemic countries at least on their first donation is a practice useful for a correct cost-effectiveness analysis and for a conclusive decision on this topic.


Citation: Alessio L, Minichini C, Starace M, Occhiello L, Caroprese M, Di Caprio G, et al. (2018) Low prevalence of HTLV1/2 infection in a population of immigrants living in southern Italy. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(6): e0006601. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006601

Editor: Gary L. Simon, George Washington University, UNITED STATES

Received: January 24, 2018; Accepted: June 11, 2018; Published: June 25, 2018

Copyright: © 2018 Alessio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper. There are not Supporting Information files.

Funding: This study was supported by Gilead Sciences S.r.l (000//ihq//14-07//1536) to NC. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: We declare that author Nicola Coppola has no affiliations to Gilead science company and has no financial competing interests.

Keywords: HTLV-1/2; Migrants; Italy; Blood Safety.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.