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February 2, 2006

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Wayland, USA:

My seven year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 on January 6, 2006. She was exposed to a oxsackie virus a couple of months before. She had symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease, which then led to an upper respiratory virus. Several of her friends also had it. I understand that there are many strains of the virus, but most commonly the Coxsackie B has been associated with the development of pancreatic beta cell destruction. Why isn’t there a vaccine if we know this? Are there any vitamins or medications to stop the destruction, anti-viral medications, etc?


From: DTeam Staff

You ask good questions. It is difficult to develop vaccinations against many viruses, including the Coxsackie virus The problems that these viruses cause are usually mild respiratory illnesses. If one has the genetic susceptibility, then this virus, like many others, can damage the pancreas. There are no safe known ways to protect the pancreas as of yet, but lots of research trying to find these as well. One of the chapters in my own pediatric diabetes textbook reviews some of this research, but the bottom line is that we are just not as wise as would like to be.