Neurological morbidity among human T-lymphotropic-virus-type-1-infected individuals in a rural West African population

Cooper, S, van der Loeff, M Schim, McConkey, S, Cooper, M, Sarge-Njie, R, Kaye, S and Whittle, H (2009) Neurological morbidity among human T-lymphotropic-virus-type-1-infected individuals in a rural West African population. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 80 (1). pp. 66-68. ISSN 1468-330X

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Community-based neurological data about human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa are scarce.


To ascertain the prevalence of neurological morbidity, in particular tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP), among HTLV-1-infected subjects and to compare TSP prevalence in HTLV-1-infected with that in non-infected subjects in a rural West African population.


A cross-sectional study of HTLV-1-infected cases and controls (ratio 4:1) from a rural community (population approximately 10 000, HTLV-1 prevalence 7.7%). One neurologist masked to HTLV-1 serological status assessed all subjects. Clinical criteria were employed to diagnose TSP.


From 205 eligible cases and controls, 139 were recruited with a mean age of 56 years, and 113 (81%) were HTLV-1-infected. 108/139 (78%) were female, and 8/113 HTLV-1 infected cases (7.1%) had a definite or probable TSP (all females; mean age 67 years) compared with 0/26 controls. Two with TSP were co-infected with HIV-2. Complaints of back pain and leg weakness were more common in HTLV-1-infected individuals (p = 0.03, p = 0.02), but no single symptom distinguished between subjects with and without TSP.


We report a prevalence of TSP among HTLV-1-infected persons in this rural West African setting of 7.1%. There are difficulties excluding other potential aetiologies here

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry > RC0346 Neurology. Diseases of the nervous system Including speech disorders
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Depositing User: Patricia Butler
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2012 10:46
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2017 13:38
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