Making the invisible visible: searching for human T-cell lymphotropic virus types 1 and 2 (HTLV-1 and HTLV-2) in Brazilian patients with viral hepatitis B and C

<div><p>With this study, the authors hope to alert clinicians regarding the presence of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 and 2 (HTLV-1/-2) infections in patients with viral hepatitis B and C in Brazil. HTLV-1/-2 were detected in 1.3% of hepatitis B virus (HBV)- and 5.3% of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected blood samples sent for laboratory viral load measurements. A partial association of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 and HTLV-1/-2 infection was detected in patients with HCV (HIV+, 27.3%), whereas this association was almost 100% in HBV-infected patients (HIV+, all except one). The high prevalence of HTLV-1/-2 infection among patients with hepatitis C was of concern, as HTLV-1/-2 could change the natural course of subsequent liver disease. The authors suggest including HTLV-1/-2 serology in the battery of tests used when following patients with viral hepatitis in Brazil, regardless of the HIV status.</p></div>