HTLV-1-associated myeloneuropathy in an Italian

A Lugaresi, A Uncini, A M Porrini, P Battista, D French, M C Curia, S Mammarella, R Mariani-Costantini, D Gambi
Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 1991, 84 (3): 186-91
A 58-year old man presented with slowly progressive spastic paraparesis, ataxia, absent ankle jerks, bladder disturbances, impairment of vibration sense and mental deterioration. Electrophysiological studies documented axonal sensory neuropathy, posterior column and optic nerve involvement. Serum tests for anti-HTLV-1 antibodies were negative but HTLV-1 proviral sequences were consistently demonstrated in white blood cell genomic DNA using the polymerase chain reaction technique. Western blot and polymerase chain reaction assays of sera and DNA from family members were negative for HTLV-1. The most likely cause of infection in this patient was a blood transfusion received 2 years before onset of symptoms. This is the second Italian case of HTLV-1 associated myelopathy and the fourth reported in white subjects living in Europe.

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