Lab Test

HTLV I/II Antibodies with Reflex to Confirmation

Test Codes

Mayo: HTLVI, EPIC: LAB6059, Beaker: XHTLV


Send Outs


Patients with positive results by ELISA will reflex to confirmation by Western Blot.

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect (preferred specimen): One Gold-top SST tube.
Also acceptable: One plain Red-top tube

Send specimen for processing immediately after collection.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Centrifuge to separate serum from cells within two hours of collection. Transfer serum to a plastic transport tube and freeze (-20°C/-4°F or below) immediately.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: 1.0 mL serum, frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below). (Minimum: 0.6 mL)

Rejection Criteria

Specimens not collected and processed as indicated.

In-Lab Processing

Centrifuge to separate serum from cells within two hours of collection. Transfer serum to a plastic transport tube and freeze (-20°C/-4°F or below) immediately.

Transport: 1.0 mL serum, frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below). (Minimum: 0.6 mL)


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): Unacceptable
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 28 days

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Specimen retention time is determined by the policy of the reference laboratory. Contact the Send Outs Laboratory with any questions.


Sent to Mayo Clinic Laboratories in Rochester, MN.


Monday – Friday.
Results available in 2-5 days.

Reference Range


Test Methodology

Qualitative Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/Qualitative Western Blot.


By report.

Clinical Disease

Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus-1 (HTLV-1) has been associated with adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and may play an indirect role in the pathocenesis of some B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cases. HTLV-1 has also been associated with chronic neurologic diseases including tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP) and HTLV-associated myelopathy (HAM). (1)

Disease Reporting

This is a reportable infection and positive results will be reported to the Oakland County Health Department. For more information on reportable diseases, contact the Epidemiology Department at (248) 551-4040.


HTLV-1 is primarily endemic in southwestern Japan and the Caribbean, however, parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America also have significant seroprevalence. Increased seropositivity has been observed in the Southwestern United States, the United Kingdom, and in countries with large Caribbean populations. Approximately 0.1% of males and 0.2% of females infected at childhood develop ATL as adults. HTLV-1 appears to have very little genetic variability. (1)

Incubation Period

10-30 years. Infection is assumed to be lifelong. HTLV-1 associated myelopathy sometimes develops just a few years after infection. (1)


HTLV-1 is poorly contagious and transmission can occur via blood transfusion, contaminated needles, sexual contact, and from mother to child through breast feeding. (1)


  1. Wiedbrauk D, Johnston SLG. Manual of Clinical Virology, Raven Press, New York, NY, 1993.

CPT Codes

86790, (86689 if indicated for confirmation).
LOINC:  29901-6, 77744-1, Discrimination 61112-9


Last Updated


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