Risk assessment of HTLV-I/II transmission by tissue/cell transplantation
Part 1, Epidemiological review
An important part of the ECDC’s role is to provide its stakeholders with scientific advice upon request. On 2 August 2010 ECDC received such a request from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health & Consumers (DG SANCO) – Directorate C Public Health and Risk Assessment. ECDC was asked to assess the epidemiological history of Human T-lymphotropic Virus (HTLV), possible risks of HTLV transmission through transplantation of human tissues and cells, and possible measures to prevent such transmission, in particular with regard to tissues and cells imported from the United States.... Testing for HTLV-I/II infection among most tissue and cell donors was recently discontinued in the US. In the EU, testing for HTLV-I is required for tissue donors living in, or originating from high-incidence areas, or with sexual partners originating from those areas, or where the donor’s parents originate from such areas. In accordance with its internal procedures for providing scientific advice, ECDC addressed the question by setting up an ad hoc group of internal and external experts in the field. The expert group was set up in cooperation with the EU Commission‘s DG SANCO (Directorate C Public Health and Risk Assessment) and the EU Competent Authorities for Tissues and Cells. However, in accordance with its internal procedures, ECDC selected experts based on their individual scientific and professional qualifications. After receiving clarifications on specific questions from the Commission, ECDC performed a comprehensive literature review to capture all evidence available. The expert group then reviewed the scientific evidence, assessing its validity and generalisability in relation to the question asked. This report (Part 1) is the first of two separate technical reports in which ECDC presents the results of its assessment. A draft of the preliminary results for Part 1 was presented at the meeting of the EU Competent Authorities on Tissues and Cells in Brussels on 6–7 December 2010. This part of the assessment addresses the epidemiological history of HTLV.