To the Editor.—
The human T-cell leukemia-lymphoma virus (HTLV) has been noted to be extremely prevalent in several populations, including southeastern blacks.1 Interestingly, the four cases of Blayney et al include three patients who worked in health-related professions: case 1 "worked as a hospital nursing and dietetic aide," case 2 "worked in the supply department of a hospital," and case 3 "worked as a medical assistant."As a physician who trained and worked in the southeast for more than 15 years, I would like to make the following observation: southern blacks work in hospitals in numbers far out of proportion to their population in any given town. Could there be a connection in this observation relating to cases 1, 2, and 3? Should populations of all races working in hospitals be screened for HTLV?
Smally AJ. Screening for Human T-Cell Leukemia-Lymphoma Virus. JAMA. 1984;251(12):1555. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340360023017
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