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Objective To gain further insight into the role of intrafamilial transmission of HTLV-1 in a highly endemic region in Argentina. Method Cross-sectional study in Northwest Argentina.
The prevalence rate of HTLV-1 infection in family members of infected index cases was The infection was significantly associated with gender, age and prolonged lactation. Identity of LTR sequences and presence of polymorphisms revealed high prevalence of mother-to-child and interspousal transmission of HTLV-1 among these families.
Conclusion There is an ongoing and silent transmission of HTLV-1 through vertical and sexual routes within family clusters in Northwest Argentina. This evidence highlights that HTLV-1 infection should be considered as a matter of public health in Argentina, in order to introduce preventive measures as prenatal screening and breastfeeding control.