A study was performed to assess the prevalence of specific antibodies to human T cell lymphotropic retrovirus (HTLV-III) in patients with lymphadenopathy syndrome, patients with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and those at risk of AIDS. Serum samples were obtained from these groups and from healthy controls in selected cities in Italy, and antibodies to HTLV-III were measured by immunofluorescence assay and, in a few patients, by Western blotting. In addition, IgM antibody values were measured in 82 of those positive for HTLV-III. Altogether, 235 out of 320 patients with lymphadenopathy syndrome had antibodies to HTLV-III, the proportions being highest in haemophiliacs, homosexuals, and drug addicts from Rome; 11 out of 12 patients with AIDS had antibodies; 78 out of 439 subjects at risk for AIDS had antibodies; and six out of 30 patients with lymphadenopathy syndrome and positive for HTLV-III antibodies and nine of 52 patients at risk of AIDS had a detectable titre of IgM. HTLV-III is widespread in groups at risk of AIDS in Italy, and antibodies to HTLV-III are highly prevalent in patients with lymphadenopathy syndrome. A higher proportion of drug abusers were positive for antibodies than in previous studies. HTLV-III 'infection' would appear to be spread mainly in compromised hosts, as none of the controls were positive for antibodies.
|Number of pages||2|
|Journal||British Medical Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 1985|
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