The high prevalence of Human T-cell Leukaemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) in the central Australia has become something of a wake-up call for the world to do more to prevent and reduce infections from the virus.
Health ministry said Bhutan has no history of the virus since no tests have been done to examine the virus so far. But ministry added, “they will take necessary actions if the virus continues to be a global threat.”
The HTLV-1, also known as the cousin of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can cause leukaemia and lymphoma. “We have Leukemia patients and the real cause of the disease has not been studied thoroughly because it’s a sophisticated study,” said Health Secretary, Dr. Ugen Dophu.
While the virus is afflicting central Australia, the Health Secretary Dr. Ugen Dophu advises the Bhutanese people there to “listen to health messages and practice them.”
The health secretary added the ministry is developing guidelines for Bhutanese settled in foreign land.
The virus can spread from mother to child, particularly through breastfeeding, unprotected sex, and by blood transfusion. The CNN- one of the international news broadcasting stations mentioned that many doctors including man who discovered the virus are raising alarm about how little has been done to prevent, test and treat HTLV-1.
The virus HTLV-1 is also associated with diseases of the nervous system, bronchiectasis, and weakening of the immune system. The HTLV-1 was first detected in 1979.
New courtesy of BBS, Bhutan
Image courtesy from http://cmr.asm.org/content/23/3/577/F1.expansion?ck=nck and http://www.htlv1.eu/ham_tsp.html