WHO publishes reports on human T-lymphotropic virus type 1

09 March 2021

Article: 55/1003

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a series of products on human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), aimed at drawing attention to the virus through a global public health approach. The HTLV-1 technical report, fact sheet and meeting report have been published following consultations undertaken by the WHO with member states and partners over the past year.

HTLV-1 is a retrovirus which causes a chronic lifelong infection in humans, with transmission occurring through breast feeding, sexual contact and blood transfusions and is similar to the HIV virus. HTLV-1 causes a range of clinical syndromes, with the most common being adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) and HTLV-1 associated myelopathy or total spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). As of 2012, estimates suggest between five to ten million people worldwide are living with HTLV-1 infection, with prevalence being particularly high in parts of Japan, Australia and the Pacific islands.

Source: WHO, 3 March 2021