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Isolation of human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) from a black South African with Kaposi's sarcoma

Becker W.B. ; Botha M.C. ; Engelbrecht S. ; Becker M.L.B. (1988)


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Serological evidence for HTLV-I infection in the South African population has now been confirmed by the isolation of the virus from the peripheral blood lymphocytes of an adult Tsonga male. The subject was an indigenous black man from the south-eastern Transval who had suffered from Kaposi's sarcoma for a decade and in whom serum antibodies against HTLV-I were demonstrated. T-lymphocyte cell lines were established from his peripheral blood lymphocytes and shown to be productively infected with HTLV-I as evidenced by: the characteristic cell morphology; the typical morphogenesis on ultrathin section electron microscopy; the viral genome in DNA extracted from the cell lines; characteristic reverse transcriptase activity and viral specific proteins in the cell cultrue supernatant fluids. Spread of infection occurs through sexual intercourse, from mother to child, and by blood transfusion. Donated blood should be screened to contain the spread of HTLV-I infection.

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