This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects less than 2% of people with HTLV-1 infection. Signs and symptoms vary but may include slowly progressive weakness and spasticity of one or both legs, exaggerated reflexes, muscle contractions in the ankle, and lower back pain. Other features may include urinary incontinence and minor sensory changes, especially burning or prickling sensations and loss of vibration sense. The reason some people with HTLV-1 infection develop HAM/TSTP is not well understood. Treatment generally aims to control the specific symptoms, as there is no standard treatment available. Interferon alpha may be beneficial over short periods, and some aspects of the disease may be improved with interferon beta. Other medications may include immune globulin, oral corticosteroids, and muscle relaxers such as baclofen or tizanidine.
For more information, visit GARD.