Abundance of Enteroviruses in the Gut Linked to Type 1 Diabetes Precursor

A new study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health investigators has added new findings on the link between the presence of enteroviruses in children’s intestinal tracts and the onset of islet autoimmunity, which leads to type 1 diabetes.

Nonpolio enteroviruses made the news in 2018 after 1 enterovirus was linked to an outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis in Colorado children. Although enteroviruses can also cause illnesses such as hand, foot, and mouth disease, the recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports adds to the evidence linking these viruses to childhood-onset type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are nearly 18,000 children and adolescents younger than 20 years diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually.

There is currently no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. In an interview with Contagion®, study author Thomas Briese, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center, explained why the cause of the condition is so mysterious.

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