Persistent unexplained lymphadenopathy (LAS) with intermittent fever, weight loss, night sweats and malaise was observed from March to October 1983 in 16 of 133 intravenous drug addicts who had been followed for at least two years in a Center for Drug Addicts Assistance in Milan, Italy. All the subjects lived in a restricted suburban area and indulged in frequent toxicomanic practices and mutual sexual intercourse. The subjects showed immunological alterations such as lymphopenia (50%), decreased T helper/T suppressor ratio (93%), both these abnormalities (43%), decreased T helper cells (75%), increased T suppressor cytotoxic cells (81%), decreased natural killer (NK) activity (77%), anergy (50%) or hypoergy (43%) to recall skin testing and elevated levels of IgG (87%). Anti-HTLV III antibodies were found in 14 of 16 (87%) patients with LAS and in 3 of 11 (27%) symptom-free drug addicts belonging to the same group. It will be important to assess in the future whether this clinical and immunological picture results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in an area so far untouched by this disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)