From Sydney, Australia:
My niece, aged 11, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two days ago. She was immunised against measles at school 6 weeks ago and became ill afterwards, and now has diabetes. Can the two be interconnected? Are there any known causes of diabetes? Is her younger brother also at risk?
Her diabetes was set into motion years ago. Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, at least as we best understand it now. The autoimmune process where her islet cells were destroyed began a while ago, likely years. So the measles shot had nothing to do with it. We know that certain people (certain genetic types) are more susceptible. We believe that we can identify some newborns who may have up to a 15% chance of developing diabetes. But all at risk kids don't develop diabetes, including identical twins. So there must be some insult (such as infection) from the environment. Some have worried that immunizations might be a culprit, but there are no good scientific data at present. Finally, yes, the siblings should be tested. There are centers in Sydney that can do this.
Original posting 11 Jan 1999
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention
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