This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Human T-cell leukemia virus, type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retroviral infection that affect the T cells (a type of white blood cell). Although this virus generally causes no signs or symptoms, some affected people may later develop adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) or other medical conditions. HTLV-1 is spread by blood transfusions, sexual contact and sharing needles. It can also be spread from mother to child during birth or breast-feeding. There is no cure or treatment for HTLV-1 and it is considered a lifelong condition; however, most (95%) infected people remain asymptomatic (show no symptoms) throughout life.
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