Infant Viral Infections Might Raise Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Infant Viral Infections Might Raise Risk of Type 1 Diabetes
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TUESDAY, May 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Respiratory and viral infections in the first six months of life may increase the odds of a child developing type 1 diabetes by nearly 20 percent, according to a study published in the May 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The new study included information from claims data on infants born between 2005 and 2007 in Germany. The database used covers approximately 85 percent of the German population, the study authors said. During that time, 295,420 babies were born. Over a follow-up period of about 8.5 years, 720 children developed type 1 diabetes.

Nearly all — 92.9 percent — of the children had at least one infection in their first two years of life, as did 96.7 percent of those who developed type 1 diabetes, the researchers found. Children who had a respiratory infection during the first six months of life had 17 percent higher odds of getting type 1 diabetes later. Those who had a viral infection in the first six months had a 19 percent higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes, compared to children who didn’t have a viral infection early in life.

“It could be that the viruses are somehow miseducating the immune system,” lead author, Andreas Beyerlein, Ph.D., from the Institute of Diabetes Research in Munich, told HealthDay.

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