Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Prevalence in Northeastern Iran, Sabzevar: An Epidemiologic-Based Study and Phylogenetic Analysis

Mahmoud Reza Azarpazhooh, Kazem Hasanpour, Mohsen Ghanbari, S.A. Rahim Rezaee, Baratali Mashkani, Mohammad Reza Hedayati-Moghaddam, Narges Valizadeh, Reza Farid Hosseini, Mohsen Foroghipoor, Azadeh Soltanifar, Maryam Sahebari, Keyhan Azadmanesh, Gholahossein Hassanshahi, Houshang Rafatpanah.

AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. 2012; 28(9):1095-1101. doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0248.

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-I) is an important global health problem in the world mainly in the endemic areas of HTLV-I infection. It was previously reported that Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, is a new endemic region of HTLV-I. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and phylogenetic analysis of HTLV-I in Sabzevar, located in the southeast of Mashhad. In this cross-sectional study 1445 individuals were selected by multistage cluster sampling. Serum samples were screened for anti-HTLV-I antibody using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); all of the ELISA-positive samples were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Long terminal repeat (LTR) sequencing was carried out to determine the type of HTLV-I in Sabzevar. In the primary screening by ELISA, 26/1445 (1.8%) of those sampled were reactive for HTLV-I antibody. Twenty-four out of 26 samples were confirmed HTLV-I infection by PCR (24/1445). The overall prevalence of HTLV-I infection in Sabzevar is 1.66%. The prevalence of the virus infection in men and women was 2.42% (11/455) and 1.31% (13/989), respectively. Seroprevalence was associated with age, increasing significantly among those older than 30 years (p=0.015), and a history of surgery (p=0.002), imprisonment (p=0.018), and hospitalization (p=0.005). Three out of 24 positive HTLV-I samples were selected for sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of LTR. The results showed that HTLV-I in Sabzevar belonged to the cosmopolitan subtype. The present study showed Sabzevar is a new endemic area for HTLV-I infection. Our study emphasizes that systemic HTLV-I screening of blood donors in Sabzevar and other cities in Khorasan province is important and should be taken into account.