Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Jul 29:ciac614. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac614. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: A link between chronic inflammation and several non-communicable diseases (NCD) has been established. Although chronic infection with the human T-cell leukaemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the recognised cause of several inflammatory diseases and these are associated with a high number of HTLV-1 infected cells in peripheral blood (proviral load, PVL), possible interactions between PVL and NCDs have not been studied at a community level.
METHODS: Adult Aboriginal residents of seven remote communities were invited to do a health survey between 25 August 2014 and 30 June 2018. Blood was drawn for HTLV-1 serology and PVL and relevant medical conditions were obtained from health records. Associations between HTLV-1 PVL and diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and coronary artery disease (CAD) were determined using logistic regression, adjusting for available confounders.
RESULTS: Among 510 participants (56% of the estimated adult resident population, 922), 197 (38.6%) were HTLV-1 infected. A high HTLV-1 PVL was associated with a two-fold increase in the odds of diabetes and CKD (diabetes, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.95 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06, 3.61, p = 0.033; CKD, aOR 2.00, 95% CI, 1.03, 3.8, p = 0.041). A non-significant association between high PVL and CAD (aOR, 7.08; 95% CI 1.00, 50.18; p = 0.05) was found for participants younger than 50 years at the time of angiography.
CONCLUSION: In a community-based study in central Australia people living with HTLV-1 who had high HTLV-1 PVL were more likely to have diabetes and CKD. These findings have potential clinical implications.