9 Mar 2009

Research suggests virus could trigger diabetes

2:57 pm on 9 March 2009

Research suggesting a common virus can trigger diabetes could see children being given vaccinations.

Two British studies have found that a common enterovirus infection, such as a stomach bug, can trigger the immune reaction that starts the disease process.

A Professor of Medicine in Christchurch, Don Beaven, who has published hundreds of papers on diabetes, says this is a major breakthrough.

He says it also confirms what local researchers have suspected for years, that type one diabetes can have a viral background.

Professor Beaven says New Zealand must now invest in a register of those with the disease.

He says rates of type one diabetes are going up by more than 5% a year. Type one diabetes involves a lifetime of finger-prick blood testing and insulin injections.