Ancient virus lurking in remote Australia, affecting thousands of Aboriginal adults – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – It is called T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1— or HTLV-1 — and Australia has the highest levels in the world.
A distant cousin of HIV, it is a blood-borne virus that can be sexually transmitted or passed from mother to child.
The virus can lead to inflammation of the skin, eyes and lungs.
“You’re also at risk of developing things like leukemia, so blood cancer, and becoming disabled through spinal cord injuries,” researcher Joel Liddle said.
“Once your pro-viral load is high, you’re at a high risk of poor health.”
Researchers said, in most cases, leukaemia caused by the virus could be “rapidly fatal”.