Western surge in obesity may have been caused by a virus


Jeremy Laurance
The Independent
September 30, 2010

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The obesity explosion that has swept the Western world over the past 30 years may have been caused by a virus, scientists have said.

Researchers have discovered new evidence for an illness they have called “infectobesity” – obesity that is transmitted from person to person, much like an infection. The agent thought to be responsible is a strain of adenovirus, versions of which cause the common cold. It has already been labelled the “fat bug”.

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There are more than 50 strains of adenovirus known to infect humans but only one, adenovirus 36, has been linked with human obesity.

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