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Viral infection linked to juvenile diabetes

SAN DIEGO Researchers presented findings at the 110th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego that suggested an association between Type 1 diabetes and enteroviral infections.

Researcher Antonio Toniolo of the University of Insubria and Ospedale di Circolo in Verese, Italy, and colleagues tested the blood of 112 children at the time of time of diagnosis for the existence of enteroviral DNA. Low-level enteroviral infectivity and genome fragments were detected in 83% of Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes patients, compared with only 7% of healthy controls.

"We studied the possible association of enterovirus infections with Type 1 diabetes at time of diagnosis," said Toniolo. "Literature suggests that infection by different enteroviruses may be linked to the early stages of diabetes," although he warned that the data did not provide a "causal relationship," but suggested environmental factors may be involved.

Enteroviral infections, commonly found in infants and adolescents, cause such syndromes as hand-foot-and-mouth disease, polioviruses and coxsackieviruses.

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