Journal Article

Clinical Characteristics of Patients in Peru with Human T Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1—Associated Tropical Spastic Paraparesis

E. Gotuzzo, J. Cabrera, L. Deza, K. Verdonck, A.-M. Vandamme, R. Cairampoma, D. Vizcarra, M. Cabada, G. Narvarte and C. De las Casas

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 39, issue 7, pages 939-944
Published in print October 2004 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/423957
Clinical Characteristics of Patients in Peru with Human T Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1—Associated Tropical Spastic Paraparesis

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Background. Human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is associated with tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP). Peru is an area of endemicity for HTLV-1.

Methods. All patients with suspected cases of TSP referred to our institute (Institute of Tropical Medicine Alexander von Humboldt, Lima, Peru) from 1989 through 2002 were interviewed and tested for HTLV-1. All patients with positive results were evaluated by an expert physician. Disease progression was defined as “rapid” if the time between TSP onset and inability to walk unaided was <2 years.

Results. Among 165 patients enrolled, the symptoms and signs most frequently found were spasticity (in 97.5% of patients), hyperreflexia (95.4%), lower limb paresthesia (90.2%), pyramidal signs (82.6%), urinary complaints (82.0%), and lumbar pain (79.0%). Rapid progression was present in 21.5% of patients; mean age at TSP onset was higher among these patients than among slow progressors (P < .001). Severe spasticity, diminished vibratory sensation, and tremor were found more frequently among rapid progressors, compared with slow progressors.

Conclusions. HTLV-1—associated TSP is frequently diagnosed in areas of HTLV-1—endemicity. A subgroup of patients experiences rapid disease progression.

Journal Article.  3492 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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