ALTHOUGH THE history of animal retroviruses dates back to the beginning of the century, the first pathogenic human retrovirus was discovered only 18 years ago. In 1980, Poiesz and coworkers1 isolated a novel retrovirus from the lymphocytes of 2 patients who were diagnosed as having cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and Sézary syndrome. The same virus was isolated independently from a Japanese patient with leukemia by Miyoshi et al2 in 1981. Since both viruses were indistinguishable by nucleic acid comparison, the name human T-lymphotrophic virus type I (HTLV-I) was proposed3 for all isolates previously called adult T-cell leukemia virus in Japan and HTLV in the United States.
Tschachler E, Franchini G. Infective DermatitisA Pabulum for Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus Type I Leukemogenesis?. Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(4):487-488. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.4.487