Hepatitis B and C viruses may both be associated with a significantly increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, a new study has found.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact.
While both can lead to serious illness, many people have few symptoms and do not realise they have the virus, especially at first.
“The development of Parkinson’s disease is complex, with both genetic and environmental factors,” said Julia Pakpoor, from University of Oxford in the UK.
“It’s possible that the hepatitis virus itself or perhaps the treatment for the infection could play a role in triggering Parkinson’s disease or it is possible that people who are susceptible to hepatitis infections are also more susceptible to Parkinson’s disease,” said Pakpoor.
The study found that people with hepatitis B were 76% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those in the comparison group, and people with hepatitis C were 51% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.