Summary: Knowledge of the epidemiologic pattern of human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) in the United States is being enlarged by blood donor screening. We tested stored sera from 29,937 donations made in South Florida in 1984-1985. Twenty-three donors were confirmed as seropositive, a prevalence of 0.8 per 1,000 donations. Specificity was supported by serologic retesting and virus culture of 11 donors located for follow-up. Sex- and age-specific prevalences did not differ significantly; blacks, however, accounted for 65% of seropositive donations. Within South Florida, one section of Miami had a prevalence of 4.5 per 1,000 donations, significantly above the 0.1 to 1.1 per 1,000 rates for other parts. An epidemiologic association with known HTLV-1 endemic areas could account for most infections; all seven typed isolates were characterized as HTLV-1. Exposures, however, were diverse, sometimes multiple, and had no necessary relationship to personal lifestyle. This finding suggests that sources of infection were varied. Seropositive family members emphasize familial clustering of HTLV-1 infection.
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