A person’s likelihood of developing diabetes may be increased by contracting a common viral infection. Worse still the person may be completely unaware they have caught the virus.
It is called the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and can be sexually-transmitted as it is part of the herpes family. However the far more common method of spreading is through people coughing and sneezing. Amazingly it seems roughly half of all adults have contracted the virus.
The reason people are unlikely to suspect they have been infected is because it can lay dormant with the individual not showing any symptoms. If symptoms are shown then it is likely to be similar to flu, and perhaps in this case would be a blessing in disguise as not showing symptoms would be dangerous.
Two German universities have found evidence that the virus poses a significant risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes later in life. Their research found that those over 85 with the virus were twice as likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes.
They found that these kinds of viral infections can stress the immune system which increased the chances of developing diabetes. Of 500 elderly adults studied in the Netherlands, 17% of those infected with the CMV also had type 2 diabetes whereas only 7.9% of those without the CMV had diabetes.