Doctors Raise Alarm: Deadly Ancient HIV-Like Virus HTLV-1 Is ‘Off the Charts’ in Australia (VIDEO)

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Doctors are raising alarm about the ancient virus HTLV-1 similar to HIV that is spreading around ’s Northern Territory.

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HIV 2.0?

An ancient virus similar to HIV is actively spreading around ’s Northern Territories, and doctors are now raising the alarm.

The virus, called human T-cell leukemia virus type 1, or HTLV-1, exceeding 40% of adults in some parts of , with indigenous communities around the town of Alice Springs the hardest hit, reports CNN. The prevalence of the disease is low in the US as the infection is “clustered” in central .

HTLV-1 is very dangerous as it can lead to leukemia and lymphoma diagnoses and as for now, there are not much is known about how to treat and prevent the disease.

It’s similar in some ways to the more well-known HIV virus. It can spread through unprotected sex, blood contact — like a transfusion — as well as between breastfeeding mothers and children.

australia-virus-photo

Source: Sajjad Hussain /AFP/Getty Images

Ancient threat

The virus HTLV-1’s DNA has been first found on a 1,500-year-old mummy discovered in South America’s Andes mountains that’s why it is called ancient.

“The prevalence is off the charts” in , said Dr. Robert Gallo, co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, whose laboratory was the first to detect HTLV-1 in 1979 and publish the finding in 1980.

“Nobody that I know of in the world has done anything about trying to treat this disease before,” Dr. Robert Gallo told CNN. “There’s little to almost no vaccine efforts, outside of some Japanese research,” Gallo added.

HTLV-1 is also associated with a number of debilitating conditions, including bronchiectasis, a dangerous lung condition, as well as nervous-system diseases like myelopathy, which affects the spinal cord, and myopathy, which affects muscle tissue.

It’s more difficult to spread than HIV, however, which some doctors say is why the virus has received less attention than HIV.


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Doctors Raise Alarm: Deadly Ancient HIV-Like Virus HTLV-1 Is ‘Off the Charts’ in Australia
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Doctors Raise Alarm: Deadly Ancient HIV-Like Virus HTLV-1 Is ‘Off the Charts’ in
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Doctors are raising alarm about the ancient virus HTLV-1 similar to HIV that is spreading around 's Northern Territory.
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