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Association between Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 and 2 (HTLV 1/2) infection and tuberculosis: systematic review and meta-analysis

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HTLV-1 infection alters the immune function and increases the risk of several infectious diseases. In this meta-analysis, we assess the association between HTLV- 1/2 and active tuberculosis (TB).


Four databases were searched for relevant articles that describe the frequency of HTLV- 1/2 infection among TB patients and control groups of healthy individuals or patients without a history of TB. Data were analyzed using the EasyMA software.


The search yielded two hundred and eight articles. Six met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The estimated relative risk of HTLV- 1/2 infection in TB patients was 3.25 times higher than in the population based control groups.


Patients with active TB have a higher risk of HTLV- 1/2 infection. Prospective studies involving latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in HTLV-1-infected individuals are necessary to evaluate the potential benefit of TB chemoprophylaxis.

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Correspondence to Sérgio Arruda or Bernardo Galvão-Castro.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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About this article


  • Tuberculosis
  • Relative Risk
  • Healthy Individual
  • Immune Function
  • Virus Type