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Seroprevalence and correlates of human T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus type 1 antibodies among pregnant women at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Authors Okoye A, Ibegbulam O, Onoh R, Ezeonu P, Ugwu NI, Lawani L, Anigbo CS, Nonyelu CE

Received 16 March 2014

Accepted for publication 23 May 2014

Published 18 September 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 849—855


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Augustine Ejike Okoye,1 Obike Godswill Ibegbulam,2 Robinson Chukwudi Onoh,3 Paul Olisaemeka Ezeonu,3 Ngozi I Ugwu,1 Lucky Osaheni Lawani,3 Chukwudi Simon Anigbo,2 Charles E Nonyelu2

1Department of Haematology and Immunology, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, 2Department of Haematology and Immunology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria

Background: Human T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus (HTLV)-1 is a retrovirus transmitted vertically from mother to child parenterally and sexually by infected lymphocytes.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of HTLV-1 antibodies and associated risk factors for HTLV-1 infection among pregnant women in University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, southeast Nigeria.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out from July to October 2010. Two hundred pregnant women were recruited consecutively from the antenatal clinic. Five milliliters of blood was collected from each of the participants into a plain sterile bottle and allowed to clot. The serum obtained was stored at -20°C until required for analysis. The serum samples were then analyzed for antibodies to HTLV-1 using a one-step incubation double-antigen sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Participants' demographic characteristics and degree of exposure to the risk factors associated with HTLV-1 infection were captured using a questionnaire. Statistical analysis of results was done using SPSS version 17.
Results: The average age of the pregnant women was 28.94 years (standard deviation 4.17). The age-group with the highest representation was those between the ages of 26 and 30 years. Thirty-six percent of the population was above 30 years old. The result of the tests showed that only one respondent, a 31-year-old pregnant woman tested positive for HTLV-1 antibodies. Therefore, the seroprevalence of HTLV-1 antibodies among pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital was 0.5%, with a 95% confidence interval of 0%–2.8%. Some of the sociodemographic risk factors of HTLV-1 infection found to be applicable to the 31-year-old woman who tested positive included positive history of previous sexually transmitted diseases, high parity, low socioeconomic status, female sex, and age above 30 years. The pregnant women that participated in this study were exposed to risk factors and behaviors associated with HTLV-1 infection. Some of the pregnant women (17.5%) had contracted sexually transmitted diseases, and 80.5% did not use condoms during coitus.
Conclusion: The seroprevalence obtained in this study was low, though it is 100% for anyone infected. More prospective and multicenter studies are required to determine the infectivity of HTLV-1 among pregnant women in Nigeria.

Keywords: human T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus, HTLV-1 antibodies, pregnant women, seroprevalence

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