Scientists prove link between viral infection (cytomegalovirus) and autoimmune disease

Published in the leading journal Immunity, the Australian
research found that chronic cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection could lead
to the development of Sjogren's (SHOW-grins) syndrome.

CMV - a member of the herpes family - is a common viral infection
that causes mild flu-like symptoms in healthy people but can lead to
more serious illness in those with compromised immune systems.

Between 50 and 80 per cent of people in developed countries are
infected with CMV.  Although normally innocuous, given the right genetic
background, chronic viral infection with CMV can trigger autoimmunity.

"Sjogren's syndrome (SS) is the second most common autoimmune disease
in humans, affecting up to three per cent of the population or more
than four million people in the United States alone," Professor
Degli-Esposti said.

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