Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-associated encephalopathy: an under-recognised cause of acute encephalitis? Case series and literature review

Journal of Neurology

Fecha de publicación: 08 February 2018


Autores: Crawshaw, A.A., Dhasmana, D., Jones, B. et al. J Neurol

Background: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV)-1-associated myelopathy (HAM) is well described. Clinical features are predominantly consistent with cord pathology, though imaging and autopsy studies also demonstrate brain inflammation. In general, this is subclinical; however, six cases have previously been reported of encephalopathy in HTLV-1-infected patients, without alternative identified aetiology. We describe three further cases of encephalitis in the UK HAM cohort (n = 142), whereas the annual incidence of acute encephalitis in the general population is 0.07–12.6 per 100,000. Clinical features included reduced consciousness, fever/hypothermia, headaches, seizures, and focal neurology. Investigation showed: raised CSF protein; pleocytosis; raised CSF:peripheral blood mononuclear cell HTLV-1 proviral load ratio; and MRI either normal or showing white matter changes in brain and cord. Four of the six previous case reports of encephalopathy in HTLV-infected patients also had HAM. 


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