Taiwanese researchers have analysed health insurance records in a large, nationwide study and discovered that the incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) was 50% higher in children who had previously been infected with enterovirus when compared with children who had never been infected.
This study is particularly noteworthy, as Taiwan traditionally has a very low rate of T1D. The rate of T1D has been rising in recent years though, as a result of an epidemic of enterovirus infections.
While enteroviruses can appear mostly benign with few symptoms in adults and only cold-like symptoms in children, previous studies have shown a strong link between enteroviruses such as the Cocksackie B virus and the development of T1D.
This data from Taiwan further lends evidence to the theory that enterovirus infection may be a trigger for the development of T1D in people who are genetically predisposed to developing the disease.
The next step is to develop vaccines to prevent people from getting enteroviruses, and studying whether prevention of enterovirus infection decreases the rate of T1D.
The full journal article can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1007%2Fs00125-014-3400-z