A white man with a progressive spastic paraparesis that began 15 months after sustaining severe trauma in a motor vehicle accident was positive for antibodies to human T-lymphotropic virus type (HTLV-I) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Serum antibody to HTLV-I was confirmed by Western blot and radioimmunoprecipitation assay. We detected specific proviral DNA in peripheral blood lymphocytes by the polymerase chain reaction. Because the incidence of HTLV-I is generally restricted to Southern Japan and Caribbean black populations, the most likely source of HTLV-I infection in this patient was multiple intraoperative blood transfusions. The relatively short interval between transfusion and development of HTLV-I-associated myelopathy is consistent with the more rapid evolution of this clinical syndrome compared with adult T-cell leukemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology