HTLV-I—associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is endemic in the Caribbean basin and Japan. Because of the close proximity of the United States to the Caribbean and the presence of HTLV-I-seropositive persons in the United States, we sought reports of patients who were HTLV-I-seropositive and had a slowly progressive myelopathy. Over a 2-year period, there were 25 patients reported, 19 of whom were black and 12 of whom had been born in the United States. All patients except two had become symptomatic while living in the United States. Six patients had no apparent risk factor for acquiring HTLV-I. These data demonstrate that HAM/TSP is occurring in the United States and that the diagnosis of HAM/TSP should be considered in patients with a slowly progressive myelopathy regardless of risk factors for acquiring HTLV-I.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology