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Diabetes and infection: review of the epidemiology, mechanisms and principles of treatment – published online 20/02/2024

Holt graphical abstract

Richard I. G. Holt, Clive S. Cockram, Ronald C. W. Ma, Andrea O. Y. Luk

Interest in infections as a cause of morbidity and mortality in people with diabetes has been reignited by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the complex bi-directional relationship between diabetes and infection is much broader than that between diabetes and COVID-19; it encompasses severe infections that occur predominantly in people with diabetes, and common infections, where the clinical course is affected by diabetes and its complications and comorbidities. In this issue, Holt et al ( describe the epidemiology of diabetes and infection, the mechanisms that make people with diabetes more vulnerable to infection, specific infections that clinicians need to be aware of, and the principles of treatment and prevention. Significant gaps in our knowledge about the relationship between diabetes and infection remain. Although major advances in diabetes treatments and technologies have occurred, further studies are required to determine whether improved diabetes care translates to a reduction in risk of serious infection. The figures from this review are available as a downloadable slideset.

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