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Enterovirus Infection Linked to Type 1 Diabetes

Update Date: Oct 18, 2014 07:44 PM EDT

Kids who've been infected with enterovirus are 48% more likely to have type 1 diabetes, according to a new study.

"Type 1 diabetes is considered to be caused by complex interaction between genetic susceptibility, the immune system, and environmental factors," lead researcher Dr. Tsai Chung-Li, China Medical University, Taiwan, and colleagues, wrote in the study. "Though the cue for genetic predisposition has been elucidated, evidence also points to involvement of enterovirus (EV) infection, including viruses such as poliovirus, Coxsackievirus A, Coxsackievirus B, and echovirus."

The latest study involved data from Taiwan's national health insurance system. Researchers wanted to find out the risk of type 1 diabetes in children with or without diagnosis of EV infection during 2000-2008.

The findings revealed that prevalence of type 1 diabetes was higher in children infected with the enterovirus. The study also revealed that the risk of type 1 diabetes increased with age at diagnosis of enterovirus infection. The findings revealed that children diagnosed after turning 10 were twice as likely to suffer type 1 diabetes.

"Taiwan has relatively low type 1 diabetes incidence; we believe that the marked escalation of the said incidence in recent decades can be largely attributed to the highly endemic spread of enterovirus infection in Taiwanese children, given that there has been little gene flow and genetic drift in such a short period," researchers wrote.

"This nationwide retrospective cohort study found a positive correlation of type 1 diabetes with EV infection. Our results suggest that preventive strategies, such as an effective vaccine against EV infection, may lessen the incidence of type 1 diabetes in Taiwan," they concluded.

The findings were published in the journal Diabetologia.

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