In Jamaican children infective dermatitis is a chronic eczema associated with refractory nonvirulent Staphylococcus aureus or beta-haemolytic streptococcus infection of the skin and nasal vestibule. 14 children between the ages of 2 and 17 years with typical infective dermatitis, attending the dermatology clinic at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica, were tested for antibody to human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). All were seropositive, whereas 11 children of similar age with atopic eczema were all negative. In 2 of 2 cases of infective dermatitis, the biological mother was HTLV-1 seropositive. None of the 14 patients showed signs of adult T-cell leukaemia/lymphoma, though experience with previous cases of infective dermatitis indicates the possibility of such progression.