Prevalence of human T-cell lymphotropic virus-1/2 in Canada over 33 years: A unique contribution of blood donors to public health surveillance

by | May 15, 2024 | Publications

Can J Public Health. 2024 May 14. doi: 10.17269/s41997-024-00886-6. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Estimate HTLV-1/2 (human T-cell lymphotropic viruses) prevalence in Canadian blood donors and the association of demographic variables with infection and their corresponding risk factors.

METHODS: First-time blood donors in all Canadian provinces (except Quebec) from 1990 to 2022 were included. Blood samples were tested for HTLV-1/2 by enzyme-linked immunoassay, confirmed by Western blot. Multivariable logistic regression with year, age group, sex, region, neighbourhood material deprivation, and ethnocultural composition indices predicted HTLV-1/2. Since 2005, all HTLV-1/2-positive donors (cases) were invited to participate in a risk factor interview, and 4 non-positive donors (controls per case) were matched for age, sex, and region. Case-control predictors of HTLV-1/2 were analyzed using logistic regression.

RESULTS: There were 3,085,554 first-time donors from 1990 to 2022. HTLV-1/2 prevalence remained low (12 per 100,000 in 2022, 95% CI 6.4-23.5). The odds ratios predicting HTLV-1/2 were higher in females (2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.6), older age groups (50 + ; 6.3, 95% CI 4.3-9.2), British Columbia and Ontario, those materially deprived (1.9, 95% CI 1.2-2.9), and those in ethnocultural neighbourhoods (7.5, 95% CI 3.2-17.3). Most HTLV-1/2 in Ontario was HTLV-1, whereas in British Columbia half were HTLV-2. Forty-three of 149 (28.8%) cases and 172 of 413 (41.6%) controls completed an interview. The strongest predictor of HTLV-1/2 in case-control analysis was birth in a high-prevalence country (OR 39.8, 95% CI 7.8-204.3) but about 50% of HTLV-1 and 90% of HTLV-2 were Canadian-born.

CONCLUSION: HTLV-1/2 prevalence is low in blood donors. High-prevalence country of birth accounts for about half of HTLV-1; HTLV-2 positives are usually Canadian-born. HTLV-1/2 transmission likely occurs overseas and within Canada.

PMID:38743354 | DOI:10.17269/s41997-024-00886-6

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