Transmission of human T-lymphotropic virus types I and II by blood transfusion. A retrospective study of recipients of blood components (1983 through 1988). The American Red Cross HTLV-I/II Collaborative Study Group.Arch Intern Med. 1991 Oct; 151(10):2043-8.AI
We studied results of a "lookback" program involving laboratory testing and interviews of 133 recipients of prior donations from blood donors seropositive for human T-lymphotropic virus types I and II (HTLV-I/II) identified at 28 American Red Cross blood centers. The study was designed to explore the natural course of posttransfusion HTLV-I/II infection among individuals who received blood components from donors subsequently identified as being HTLV-I/II seropositive. Seventeen recipients were seropositive, an apparent transmission rate of 12.8%. Red blood cells and platelets were the implicated components, and red blood cells that were less than 6 days old had a transmission efficiency of 80%. Virus typing enabled documentation of primary and secondary transfusion transmission of HTLV-I and HTLV-II, including the direct transmission of HTLV-II by a donor with a history of intravenous drug use. We conclude that transfusion transmission of HTLV-I/II to approximately 700 recipients per year occurred in the United States before routine donor testing began in 1988.