An ancient virus infecting residents across Australia’s Northern Territory is leaving death and despair in its path, and doctors are now calling for greater efforts to stop the spread of infections.
Many doctors — including the man who discovered the virus nearly four decades ago — are raising the alarm about how little has been done to prevent, test for and treat HTLV-1, which can cause leukemia and lymphoma. “The prevalence is off the charts” in Australia, 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.
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