HTLV-II risk factors in native Americans in Florida

George W. Lowis, William A. Sheremata, Patricia R. Wickman, Symalima Dube, Dipak K. Dube, Bernard J. Poiesz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Earlier virologic studies established that human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II (HTLVII) is the predominant retrovirus type found among Seminole Indians in southern Florida. We studied 46 members of the Seminole tribe living on 3 reservations to determine the risk factors for HTLV-II and to investigate disease association with the virus. The donors' plasma samples were evaluated with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent and Western blot assays. DNA extracted from their peripheral blood mononuclear cells were analyzed by type-specific polymerase chain reaction amplification and detection of the HTLV pol gene using the primer pair SK110/SK111, and the probes SK112 or SK188. One of 46 (2%) subjects was identified as HTLV-I positive and 11 (24%) were identified as HTLV-II positive. Restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequence analyses indicated that all of the HTLV-II strains were subtype b. Mitochondrial DNA analyses indicated that all of the HTLV-II-positive subjects had an Amerindian haplotype. HTLV-II was more prevalent in Indians who were >45 years of age or female, had multiple sex partners or had received a blood transfusion. However, only the latter risk factor was statistically significant. Three of the HTLV-II-positive Indians demonstrated signs and symptoms of an ataxic neuropathy. The data support that HTLV-IIb is endemic among the Seminoles and that they will be a key population for further virologic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Haplotypes
  • Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type II
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Restriction fragment length polymorphism
  • Risk factors
  • Seminole Indians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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