HTLV-I/II antibodies - serum

Last updated: Tuesday, 23, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen5-10 mL blood in plain tube.

Screening of blood and tissue donors.

Investigation of adult T cell leukaemia, suspected HTLV-I associated myelopathy/ tropical spastic paraparesis.


Many serologic assays do not distinguish between HTLV-I and HTLV-II.

Repeatedly reactive samples from patients with possible clinical disease require comfirmation with a recombinant western blot assay to distinguish HTLV-I from HTLV-II.

The distinction is important because HTLV-II is less likely to be associated with disease than HTLV-I.

PCR may also be used to distinguish between HTLV-I and HTLV-II. 

ReferenceManns E et al. Lancet 1999; 353: 1951-1958.