Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-I) has been shown to spread worldwide and to be responsible for distinct systemic diseases, namely adult T-cell leukaemia and HTLV-I-associated myelopathy. Immune-mediated, inflammatory lesions in the lungs, joints, and lacrimal glands (Sjögren's syndrome) are also suggested to be associated with the retrovirus. We studied seroprevalence of antibodies to HTLV-I in patients with various ocular disorders who are residents of south-west Japan, one of the endemic areas of HTLV-I. Of 310 patients with ocular disease 72 (23.2%) were seropositive. This seroprevalence did not differ significantly from that of the general population of the area. As regards individual ocular diseases, aetiologically undefined nonspecific uveitis showed a significantly high seropositivity for HTLV-I. Of 44 patients 18 (40.9%) were seropositive. Their clinical features were acute or subacute, transient and sometimes recurrent, and granulomatous changes in the anterior uvea. Patients with isolated cotton-wool spot of the retina, non-familial retinitis pigmentosa, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca did not show any significantly high prevalence of HTLV-I infection.
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