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Prevalence of hepatitis C infection in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

BACKGROUND: Recently, a possible epidemiological association between hepatitis C virus infection and diabetes mellitus has been suggested and a higher prevalence of HCV antibodies has been found among type 2 diabetic when compared with normal controls. AIM: To evaluate the prevalence of hepatitis C infection in diabetic patients in Curitiba, PR, Brazil. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 145 type 2 and 104 type 1 diabetic patients attending the outpatient diabetic unit of an university hospital were consecutively tested for anti-HCV, using a fourth-generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The control group was constituted by 16,720 volunteer blood donors attending the blood bank of the same hospital during the period of the study. Diabetic patients were also evaluated for clinical, biochemical (aminotransferase levels) and demographic variables and previous exposure to risk factors for hepatitis C infection. RESULTS: A higher prevalence of hepatitis C infection was observed in type 2 diabetic patients in comparison with blood donors. Although anti-HCV prevalence in type 2 diabetic patients was higher than found in type 1, it did not reach statistical significance. Both diabetic groups were predominantly female, and as expected, type 2 diabetic were older than type 1. Race distribution, duration of the disease, and previous exposure to hepatitis C risk factors were similar in both groups, but type 2 diabetic subjects had higher median levels of alanine aminotransferase than type 1. CONCLUSIONS: A higher prevalence of hepatitis C infection was detected in type 2 diabetic patients in comparison with blood donors in our region, in accordance with study data from different populations. If all type 2 diabetic patients should undergo regular screening for hepatitis C infection remains a question.

Hepatitis C; Diabetes mellitus

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