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to dr. ben young
Sep 6, 2004

hi dr

ok, i will try my question here. i may try this with other experts here at thebody as well, just to pad my odds of getting an answer.

do you know of other retroviruses that lead to cancers? particularly lymphoma? i'm talking about something in the realm of an htlv. animals have many retroviruses such as chicken wasting virus, feline leukemia, etc. have you any information on whether or not retroviruses like these have made the jump to humans yet?

any information is appreciated. just to give you a little backround on why i'm asking: i'm in a symptomatic cluster of people with wasting syndrome, persistent swollen glands, fevers, thrush, etc. we have all slept with the same person who is also highly symptomatic. two people in the cluster have finally been diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma, and the rest of us wait for the same. expecting lymphoma or leukemia to strike is bad, but not even as bad as the wasting syndrome we all have. the whole thing is a big mess because as you can imagine, nobody even entertains that such a scenario is possible, since we all test negative for hiv-1/2 and htlv-1/2. so we are not getting any help from anyone at the moment.

thank you for your time.

so any help you may provide would be excellent.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your interest at TheBody.

I'm not sure if I've got the answers that your looking for, but here goes. As you've pointed out, there are really only a few known retroviruses that infect humans and cause disease-- HIV and HTLV. Since it's pretty likely that humans acquired these viruses from contact with non-human animal contact and infection with their retroviruses, it's not impossible that other viruses could have, or will someday jump species.

I can understand the anxiety that your situation poses-- sounds like the search for the usual suspects has failed to identify a viral cause. If you have a known link one another, two cases of NHL among your group is intriguing. Perhaps a call to your local health department (or the CDC) could initiate a proper epidemiological investigation.

Sorry not to be of more help, good luck. BY



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