Demonstration of antibodies to human T-lymphotropic retrovirus type III in lymphoadenopathy syndrome patients and in individuals at risk for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Italy

M. C. Sirianni, P. Rossi, M. Moroni, S. Romagnani, A. Lazzarin, M. Carbonari, B. Scarpati, M. Mariani, P. E. Manconi, G. S. Del Giacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An epidemiologic survey of the distribution of lymphoadenopathy syndrome in six Italian cities and its correlation with human T-lymphotropic retrovirus III (HTLV-III) is reported. Serum samples of nine patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) were tested, 180 from patients with lymphoadenopathy and 349 from individuals belonging to groups such as homosexuals, drug addicts, hemophiliacs, and polytransfused considered at increased risk for AIDS. Prevalence of HTLV-III antibodies was 78% in AIDS patients and 61% in 180 patients with lymphoadenopathy syndrome (variation among drug abusers by city from 51% in Cagliari to 87% in Rome). The percentage of positive sera in individuals at risk for AIDS or lymphoadenopathy ranged from 0% in polytransfused to 8.5% in homosexuals, 14% in drug addicts, and 19.5% in hemiphiliacs. No positive sera were found among 660 healthy individuals including relatives of patients with AIDS or lymphoadenopathy or in 342 patients suffering from immunologic or infectious diseases. These results strongly suggest that HTLV-III is the causative agents of AIDS and lymphoadenopathy. Since none of the healthy subjects were positive while a substantial percentage of people at risk for AIDS showed antibodies to HTLV-III, it may be presumed that this infection is also prevalent in the Italian population group in which AIDS and lymphoadenopathy are most likely to develop.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume123
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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