Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Precilla Belin


Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs), are among the most virulent and widespread pathogens; they affect 60-90% of the population worldwide. Substantial evidence indicates a possible association between pathogens and chronic disease. HSVs, among other viruses, have been associated with increased risk for inflammatory diseases. However, prior findings have been inconsistent on the role of infection in triggering autoimmune response and chronic disease. This study builds on the premise that pathogens can induce an inflammatory response and increase the risk for disease development. A representative U.S. sample from NHANES, a national population-based cross-sectional survey, was used to examine the relationship between HSVs infection and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Results from the two-tailed, Pearson chi-square test and multiple logistic regression analyses found no significant association between HSV or multiple herpes virus infections and T2DM or CVD, which suggest rather a secondary phenomenon. However, all the risk factors examined in this study indicated an association with either T2DM, CVD or both. Two inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum ferritin, were significantly associated with T2DM and CVD. These findings have potential implications for social change as they support the premise that high levels of CRP and ferritin may be associated with T2DM and CVD. Existing guidelines for primary and secondary prevention of T2DM and CVD could be expanded (a) to include CRP and ferritin as part of the health assessment for T2DM and CVD in high-risk populations, and (b) to explore the effectiveness of CRP and ferritin as predictive biomarkers and prognostic tools for T2DM and CVD.