ABSTRACT: A growing number of reports suggest a connection between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, the association of HCV infection with diabetes-related complications has not yet been clarified. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HCV infection in T2D-patients in Kuwait which has a high incidence of type 2 diabetes, and to investigate the association between HCV viremia and diabetes-related complications. A total of 438 patients with T2D (325 Kuwaitis and 113 Egyptians), and 440 control subjects, were enrolled for this study. HCV infection was assessed by testing for serum HCV-specific antibodies, and by detection of HCV RNA. HCV viral load and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels were assessed in patients with and without diabetes complications. Thirty one (7%) out of 438 T2D-patients had evidence of HCV infection compared to 4 (1%) out of 440 control adults (p<0.0001). The prevalence of HCV infection in Kuwaiti and Egyptian T2D-patients was 3% and 18%, respectively. Most of the HCV sequences detected in T2D patients and control subjects were of genotype 4. The HbA1c levels in T2D-patients with HCV viremia were significantly higher than those in HCV-negative patients. HCV viremia, female sex, age, family history of diabetes were found to be independent risk factors for diabetes complications. The results suggest that T2D-patients in Kuwait have higher prevalence of HCV infection than controls, and that HCV viremia is associated with diabetes-related complications.
Journal of infection and public health. 09/2011; 4(4):200-6.