Infection with a common virus, cytomegalovirus, may be responsible for increasing risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Dutch study, carried out by Leiden University and the University of Tubinge, involved nearly 549 elderly adults over 85 years of age. 15 per cent of participants had type 2 diabetes, and the study found that the percentage of having type 2 diabetes was twice as high in those that carried the virus than those that did not. In the group which had the cytomegalovirus infection, 17 per cent had type 2 diabetes. In the group that did not carry the infection, 8 per cent had type 2 diabetes.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common infection that is estimated to be found in most adults over 40 years old. In the study, 80 per cent of participants carried the virus. The virus is a form of herpes virus and can be passed on via saliva, blood, sexual activity and from breast feeding. Type 2 diabetes is a condition which decreases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Many people may not be aware they have the virus as it is common not to experience symptoms. Those that do experience symptoms may experience similar symptoms
to flu such as a high temperature (above 38 degrees Celsius), a sore throat, swollen glands and muscle or joint pain.
Whilst the study suggests quite a strong link, the number of participants with type 2 diabetes within the study was relatively small and further research will be needed to confirm whether there is a clear association or not between the virus and type 2 diabetes.

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