HTLV-2 infection in injection drug users in King County, Washington

Joseph Zunt, Ken Tapia, Hanne Thiede, Rong Lee, Holly Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-2) is endemic in injection drug users (IDU), and native American populations in the Americas. Transmission is associated with high-risk injection and sexual practices. A cohort of 2561 IDU in King County, Washington completed 2 study visits over 1 y. HTLV-2 infection was detected in 190 (7.4%) of 2561 IDU, and 13 (7.8 cases per 1000 person-y) incident infections occurred during the study. Prevalent infection was associated with female gender, non-white race, longer duration as IDU, having a tattoo, combined injection of heroin and cocaine, and with serologic evidence of hepatitis B and C infection. Seroconversion was more common in women, and was associated with African American race, heterosexual identity and longer duration as IDU. In conclusion, increased risk of HTLV-2 infection was associated with non-white race, and injection drug of choice, suggesting injection networks may play an important role in transmission of HTLV-2. The high correlation of HTLV-2 infection with HCV infection suggests the major route of transmission in IDU is via injection practices. Additional studies are needed to examine the clinical manifestations of HTLV-2 infection, as well as the clinical and virological manifestations of HTLV-2/HCV coinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-663
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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