Seroprevalence of human T lymphotropic virus antibodies among healthy blood donors at a tertiary centre in Lagos, Nigeria
Introduction: Transmission of human T-lymphotropic viruses (HTLV) occurs from mother to child, by sexual contact and blood transfusion. Presently, in most centres in Nigeria, there is no routine pre-transfusion screening for HTLV. The study aims to determine the prevalence of HTLV- 1 and HTLV-2 among healthy blood donors at a tertiary centre in Lagos.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at the blood donor clinic of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja. About 5mls of venous blood was collected from each subject into a sterile plain bottle after obtaining subject's consent. The serum separated and stored at -200C. Sera were assayed for HTLV by an enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) for the determination of antibodies to HTLV 1 and HTLV -2. Western blot confirmatory testing was done on reactive samples. All donors were also screened for HIV, HBsAg and HCV by rapid kits.
Results: The seroprevalence of HTLV -1 by ELISA was 1.0% and 0.5% by Western Blot among blood donors. A total of 210 healthy blood donors were enrolled. Only 2 (1.0%) blood donors were repeatedly reactive with ELISA test. On confirmatory testing with Western Blot, 1 (0.5%) blood donor was positive for HTLV. All the healthy blood donors were negative for HIV, HbsAg and HCV. None of the 210 blood donors had been previously transfused; as such no association could be established between transfusion history and HTLV positivity among the blood donors.
Conclusion: The seroprevalence of HTLV in this environment is low among healthy blood donors.
Key words: Seroprevalence, HTLV, healthy blood donors, Nigeria