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Enterovirus Infections Increase Risk of Type-1 Diabetes

Update Date: Oct 22, 2014 11:35 AM EDT
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The growing incidences of type 1 diabetes worldwide could be due to entereovirus infections, researchers in Taiwan claim.

According to the researchers, Enterovirus infections increase the risk of developing type-1 diabetes. They explained the mechanism is a complex mix of genetic, immune and environmental factors. Though the study is observational, researchers said the observations made by nationwide study are strong enough to warrant further research.

"Children that have been infected with enterovirus are 48% more likely to have developed type 1 diabetes," study's senior author Tsai-Chung Li, of China Medical University, said according to Medscape Medical News.

Infection Control Today (ICT) informed that the rate of incidence of type 1 diabetes among children infected with enterovirus was higher at 5.73 as against 3.89 per 100,000 in children not infected by EV. The study also found that older a child was at the age of EV infection higher is the risk of diabetes. Children aged over 10 had doubled risk compared to younger children.

In recent times, the incidence of type-1 diabetes has increased in children below aged 5 and in puberty age.

The findings have prompted researchers to stress the importance of enterovirus vaccines. No such vaccines exist though an inactive enterovirus 71 is in development, which has shown it can prevent hand-foot-and-mouth disease in Chinese children. However no broad vaccines exist to prevent cross infections due to other types of enteroviruses.

"Vaccination strategy against enterovirus infection "might slow the rising incidence of type 1 diabetes. A more broadly protective enterovirus vaccine would be more helpful in preventing type 1 diabetes," said Dr. Li.

"Regions such as Africa, Asia, South America have a low but increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes and high prevalence of enterovirus infection; environmental factors like enterovirus infection may play a vital role in increasing incidence in these regions," researchers said according to ICT.

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