Contagious diseases, spread by wild animals, can be the cause of diabetes 1 in children. This is the conclusion made by the researchers from the University of Newcastle.
British scientists have conducted monitoring of children with diabetes and reached the conclusion that this autoimmune disease might be caused by external factors. In contrast to diabetes 2, which mainly affects adults, diabetes 1 is developed in childhood or adolescence. It is not associated with obesity or life style.
The disease develops when the body stops producing insulin, so patients must regularly get injections of this substance several times a day. The researchers examined the cases of diabetes 1 in the north-east of England and identified a six-year cycle with peaks of the disease incidence at a certain time of the year.
Thus they could make an assumption that diabetes 1, like flu or measles, spreads as an infection. Perhaps it is spread by wild animals. This infection triggers an autoimmune reaction in susceptible people. Thus, though children may be genetically predisposed to diabetes, the disease develops under the influence of infections as well.
Rodents are most likely to be the carriers of the disease. It cannot be spread from person to person. However, if children come into contact with wild animals or play in a certain place, where the animals appear, there is a danger of catching the disease. Fortunately, getting the infection does not necessarily mean that the child will have diabetes 1. It happens quite rarely, and in the children with a weakened immune system.