Signs and symptoms of human T-lymphotropic virus 1 and 2 infections in paediatric patients

Trop Med Int Health. 2023 Jun;28(6):432-441. doi: 10.1111/tmi.13879. Epub 2023 Apr 26.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of signs and symptoms of HTLV-1 and 2 infection in paediatric patients.

Methods: We included cohort, case-control and descriptive observational studies that reported the prevalence of signs and symptoms of HTLV-1 and 2 infections in paediatric patients. Searches were performed in MEDLINE® (Ovid), EMBASE and LILACS from inception to the present, and we saturated information with other sources of published and unpublished literature. We decided not to perform meta-analysis according to heterogeneity.

Results: A total of eight studies met the inclusion criteria for qualitative analysis. No studies of HTLV-2 were found. Females predominated and there was vertical transmission in nearly 100% of cases. Infective dermatitis was a common manifestation of HTLV in paediatric patients. In addition, persistent hyperreflexia, clonus and the Babinski sign were early neurological alterations observed in patients carrying the virus.

Conclusion: HTLV screening is recommended in patients presenting infective dermatitis, persistent hyperreflexia, walking disturbances and in those who come from endemic zones.

Keywords: HTLV-I; HTLV-II; child signs and symptoms; tropical spastic paraparesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dermatitis*
  • Female
  • HTLV-I Infections* / epidemiology
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1*
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic* / epidemiology
  • Reflex, Abnormal