Aim: To assess the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among Greek patients with Type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), in view of the previous reports of high prevalence, particularly in patients with elevated aminotransferase.
Methods: We checked 423diabetic patients (183 male, 240 female, mean age: 63 years) attending our unit, recording epidemiology data, diabetes history, treatment and classification. Patients were stratified by aminotransferase values (normal or elevated). HCV screening was performed using standard techniques. Statistical analysis was done by using the Student's t-test for continuous variables and chi-square (chi2) for categorical data.
Results: Antibodies against HCV (anti-HCV) were detected in seven out of 423 diabetic patients (prevalence 1.65%). There was no correlation between HCV titre and diabetes type, duration, treatment, obesity (body mass index, BMI) or glycaemic control (HbA1c). The only correlation was elevated aminotransferase values (P<0.01) Among the established risk factors for HCV transmission, only history of previous transfusion was significant (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: It remains a strong hypothesis that diabetic patients are at increased HCV infection risk, yet our findings in Greek diabetic patients were rather low. Further studies, possibly multicentre, are needed to estimate prevalence and address the question of whether a direct effect of HCV in diabetes development does actually exist.