HTLV-1/2 infection in Italy: a narrative review of epidemiological studies

by | Jun 17, 2024 | Publications

AIDS Rev. 2024 Jun 17. doi: 10.24875/AIDSRev.24000007. Online ahead of print.


The human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) was first described in 1980. It is spread in highly endemic regions in the world, such as the Southwestern part of Japan, sub-Saharan Africa and South America, Caribbean, Middle East, and Australo-Melanesia regions. HTLV-1 causes adult T cell leukemia and is associated with many inflammatory conditions, most notably HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropic spastic paraparesis. HTLV-2, first isolated in 1982, was recognized as a common infection in intravenous drug users, but a clear association with disease remains elusive. The first estimate of HTLV-1-positive individuals worldwide, in 1993, was around 10-20 millions. Due to the lack of global population-based prevalence studies, this is considered an underestimate at the moment. Furthermore, HTLV-1 prevalence in Europe is impacted by changing migration flows. Particularly, no data on HTLV-1 prevalence in the general population in Italy are available. Here, we report a systematic literature review of studies conducted in Italy on HTLV-1/2 from 1980 to 2023. Based on the criteria we adopted a total of 426 publications were found (64 reviews, 99 epidemiological, and 263 translational studies). The contents of some representative publications are summarized and discussed. Moreover, an approximate estimation of about 26,000 HTLV-1 positive foreigners living in Italy was obtained from updated data of foreigners from each single country officially registered as resident in Italy and from data on HTLV-1 prevalence among the general population in the corresponding countries.

PMID:38885479 | DOI:10.24875/AIDSRev.24000007

Other publications you may be interested in…

HTLV-1 Disease

HTLV-1 Disease

HTLV-1 Disease Abstract The years 2020 and 2021 will remain memorable years for many reasons [...]. Click here to...

read more