New Research Links HBV, HCV Infections to Diabetes


Hepatitis C virus infections are strongly linked to type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

The relationship between liver disease and diabetes is well-known.

Patients with diabetes generally have an increased risk for developing various forms of liver diseases that can cause or exacerbate diabetes, including hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Diabetes can also cause or intensify the severity of liver infections.

In a cross-sectional study, investigators, led by Yihenew Million, University of Gondar, determined the prevalence of both HBV and HCV infections and identified the associated factors among patients with diabetes visiting the University of Gondar referral teaching hospital in Ethiopia between 2016-2017.

The investigators examined 610 patients, half of which had diabetes in the study and found 65 (10.7%) were positive for either hepatitis infection, of which 44 (14.4%) and 21 (6.9%) were positive for at least 1 of the viruses in patients with diabetes and people with no diabetes, respectively.

“Out of the diabetic and non-diabetic groups of the study, 26 (8.5%) and 14 (4.6%) (95% CI, .96—4.02) were positive for Hepatitis B virus, respectively, while 23 (7.5%) and 7 (2.3%) (95% CI, 1.46–8.68) of the diabetes and non-diabetic groups were positive for Hepatitis C virus, respectively,” the authors wrote.

The mean age for the diabetic patients was 37.7 and 36.3 for the non-diabetic group. Nearly 60% of the participants were male.

“Among individuals who were tested with HBV and HCV serology, no significant differences were observed in terms of age and sex between the groups (P =.056 and P =.412, respectively),” the authors wrote.

The team also linked a history of blood transfusion (95% CI, 1.36—12.71) and unprotected sex (95% CI, 1.25–10.15) with a prevalence of HBV infections, while the type of diabetes (95% CI, 1.25–10.89) was associated with anti-Hepatitis C virus positivity.

“Positivity for Hepatitis C virus was significantly associated with Type II diabetes,” the authors wrote. “Blood transfusion and unprotected sex were risk factors for Hepatitis B virus infections.”

The investigators are planning further studies that elaborate temporal associations and find out explanations for the relationship between diabetes and HCV infections.

For adults, HBV infections generally resolve and develop protective immunity. However, HCV infections tend to progress into a chronic infection in most causalities.

The incidence of liver cirrhosis or hepatic cell carcinoma (HCC) is high among individuals with chronic HBV and/or HCV infections.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 350 million people are infected with chronic HBV and 170 million people suffer from chronic HCV infection globally.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease condition that encompasses a group of metabolic disorders regarded as hyperglycemia following irregularities in the secretion or action of insulin or both.

In the study, the investigators found that the likelihood of detecting anti-HCV antibody was 3.69 times greater in type 2 diabetes than type 1 diabetes (95% CI, 1.25-10.89).

The study, “Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Viral Infections And Associated Factors Among Patients With Diabetes Visiting Gondar Referral Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Study,” was published online in the Journal of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

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