Management of Human T-cell Lymphotropic Viruses (HTLV) Infection

E. Management

There is a possibility that some of the agents currently in use against HIV, especially the nucleoside analogue inhibitors, may work against HTLV-1. However, since ATL and TSP present years following infection, there appears little justification in using antiviral therapy in healthy carriers. A combination of interferon-alpha and zidovudine had been reported to be effective in treating ATL patients. A combination of zidovudine, danazol, and Vitamin C in providing temporary relief for TSP patients.

F. Prevention

Screening of blood donations for HTLV-I is now routinely carried out in high prevalence areas such as Japan. However, there is a trend towards screening in low prevalence areas as well e.g. USA and France. In other low prevalence areas, screening is only carried out on donors who originate from high prevalence areas e.g. Japan and the Carribean. In Japan, antenatal screening for HTLV-1 antibody is carried out for pregnant wowen. Those who are positive are advised not to breastfeed their infants. Research is being carried out on the development of a vaccine against HTLV-I.