Seroprevalence of human T-lymphotropic virus infection among blood donors in China: a first nationwide survey

Retrovirology. 2021 Jan 7;18(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s12977-020-00546-w.


Background: So far, the prevalence of human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) type 1 and 2 in some highly populated countries such as China is still unknown. In this study, a multi-center nationwide serological survey was designed and performed, to reveal the seroprevalence of HTLV infection among Chinese blood donors.

Results: Among 8,411,469 blood donors from 155 blood establishments, 435 were finally confirmed as HTLV carriers. The prevalence of HTLV infection in China varied in different provinces: Fujian had the highest prevalence of 36.240/100,000 (95% CI 31.990-41.050) and eleven provinces did not find HTLV-seropositive donors in the three years. no HTLV-2 infection was found. The overall prevalence of HTLV-1 in China decreased from 2016 to 2018. Female was identified as an independent risk factor of HTLV infection in China. Besides, seroconversion was observed in two of seven seroindeterminate donors 85 and 250 days after their last donation, respectively.

Conclusions: The seroprevalence of HTLV infection in most areas of China among blood donors is quite low, but it varies significantly in different geographic areas. Screening anti-HTLV-1/2 antibody and follow-up of serointederminate donors are essential to ensure blood safety especially in areas where we have found HTLV infected donors.

Keywords: Blood donor; Human T-lymphotropic virus; Seroprevalence.