We carried out a seroepidemiologic survey to define the prevalence of human T cell lymphotropic virus types 1/2 (HTLV-1/2) infections among aboriginal populations from isolated regions of northern Argentina and the Amazon region of Peru. Antibodies against HTLV were measured with agglutination tests and confirmed with by an immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and Western blotting. Five (6.94%) of 72 samples from the Tobas Indians in Argentina were positive by the IFA; two samples were typed as HTLV-1 (2.78%), two as HTLV-2 (2.78%), and one (1.39%) could not be typed because it had similar antibody titers against both viruses. No positive samples were found among 84 Andinos Punenos and 47 Matacos Wichis Indians. Seroprevalences of 2.50% (1 of 40) and 1.43% (1 of 70) for HTLV-1 were observed among Wayku and San Francisco communities in the Amazon region of Peru, and seroprevalences of 4.54% (1 of 22) and 2.38% (1 of 42) for HTLV-2 were observed among Boca Colorada and Galilea communities. No serologic evidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was found among the Indians tested. These results indicated the presence of HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 in the indigenous populations of Argentina and Peru. Moreover, the lack of HIV infection indicates that the virus has probably not yet been introduced into these populations.
Medeot, S., Nates, S., Recalde, A., Gallego, S., Maturano, E., Giordano, M., Serra, H., Reategui, J., & Cabezas, C. (1999). Prevalence of antibody to human T cell lymphotropic virus types 1/2 among aboriginal groups inhabiting northern Argentina and the Amazon region of Peru. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 623-629. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.1999.60.623