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In my child's school of 400 students two little girls, age 10, have been diagnosed with Diabetes. One last week, one 11 months ago. We spoke to the Pediatrician who diagnosed the last little girl and he said he usually diagnoses 2 cases a year. In the last week he has had 4 cases. He also says 6 were admitted to our local hospital in just one day. Is this just coincidence?

The "epidemic of diabetes" is merely an epidemic of flu and other crud that happens every autumn, as schoolkids are cooped up together when classes resume.

It is thought that the deterioration of the beta cells predates the onset of symptoms of diabetes, sometimes by several months. What the exposure to the flu virus did, was to put additional stress on the beta cells, raising the blood sugar more, and making the diabetes visible to be diagnosed.

You might say that kids who are destined (by their genetic inheritance from their families) to get diabetes are going to get it sooner or later, depending on triggering events such as these viruses.

There are theories that viruses can cause diabetes in people who don't have the genetic predisposition. However, we don't think these theories are too likely to explain the increased incidence of Type 1 diabetes that happens every autumn!

PS: There is another question about viruses and diabetes.

Original posting 18 Jan 96


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