The human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1) is a member of the Retroviridae family and can infect humans and primates.
Infections with the retrovirus are most often asymptomatic. Around ten per cent of infected individuals develop severe diseases that mostly occur after a latency time of several years. Approximately three to five per cent develop an aggressive adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL), further possible diseases include myelopathy, polymyositis, uveitis, and chronic pulmonary diseases.
Transmission mainly occurs via breast milk, blood and sexual contact.
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