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From Hialeah, Florida, USA:

My daughter turned 2 a month ago. A few days after she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She showed the classic symptoms: thirst, frequent urination, hunger, etc. My family has no diabetics (the genetic link). My grandfather became diabetic over age 60 and my wife's grandfather became diabetic at old age. Doctors ask if my daughter ever got sick. I answer yes. At 15 days old she got the RSV virus. Is there a link to her diabetes and the RSV virus which affected her lungs and remained in the hospital for 4 days? Can a severe infection (flu or any strong virus) weaken the pancreas and cause diabetes?


There have been sporadic reports claiming a variety of viral agents as causing diabetes. At the moment apart from the effect on the infant with German measles in the mother, none of these claims have really held up. The difficulty of course is to link the infection to the actual early development of the autoimmune process.

Type 1A autoimmune diabetes is a disorder of the immune system which develops as a result of both a specific genetic predisposition and a so far undefined environmental factor. It is not related to the other instances of diabetes in the family which are almost certainly the very different Type 2 diabetes. Current thinking is that it is very unlikely that the RSV infection was in any way linked to the diabetes.

Certainly though, viral infections can trigger the final development of clinical diabetes when that process is already under way.


Original posting 7 Feb 2000
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:08
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