Physicians call for prevention efforts as HTLV-1 virus hits Australia

HIV Has a'Long Lost Cousin What You Should Know About This Virus

HIV Has a'Long Lost Cousin What You Should Know About This Virus

The virus was first spotted 40 years ago when archeologists unearthed 1,500-year-old mummies in South America.

Many doctors - including the man who discovered the virus almost four decades ago - are raising the alarm about how little has been done to prevent, test for and treat HTLV-1, which can cause leukaemia and lymphoma.

Dr. Robert Gallo, who co-founded the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland expressed regret that not on a single occasion has the disease triggered by the virus been treated.

Recent outbreaks of Chloera, Yellow Fever and the Zika Virus have swept the globe.

There is no effective treatment or cure and, like HIV, it is spread through contaminated blood and unprotected sex as well as breast milk.

Mums and their children, and sexual partners are most at risk.

A little-known but deadly virus distantly linked to HIV has made headlines recently after experts urged action to fight its high prevalence in parts of rural Australia.

Le gritaron "nena" por usar vincha y sus compañeros dieron una lección
Un grupo de padres del equipo rival comenzó a gritarle "mariquita" y "nena" . "El puede usar el pelo como quiera", dijo la mujer. Utilizando vinchas y carteles, los niños exigieron respeto y brindaron una ejemplar lección a los mayores.

Yet "nobody that I know of in the world has done anything about trying to treat this disease before", said Dr Gallo, who is also co-founder and scientific director of the Global Virus Network and chairs the network's HTLV-1 Task Force.

"There's little to nearly no vaccine efforts, outside some Japanese research", he told CNN.

Rates of infection of exceeding 40% in some adult groups in remote areas of Oz. Because it can be transmitted through sex, it's considered a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. Infected people don't always show symptoms straight away and can unknowingly pass the virus on.

"It's causing a problem of bronchiectasis".

"[It] is probably the highest ever reported prevalence in any population", Dr Graham Taylor, a clinician and professor at Imperial College London who runs the United Kingdom's HTLV clinical service based at St Mary's Hospital, said. If you can't see a response, then you might say it's neglected. The virus infects white blood cells known as T cells, and in rare cases, it can cause aggressive leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health's Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).

Efforts to screen for HTLV-1 are not found worldwide, with only few countries such as Japan carrying out the practice. Both HTLV-1 and HIV can be sexually transmitted and attack the immune system, though HTLV-1 is generally more hard to transmit.

Dr Taylor added there is a "lack of knowledge" about the infection.

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