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October 24, 2004

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Lachine, Michigan, USA:

I was told that my daughter caught the chicken pox virus for the second time and this is how she contracted type 1 diabetes. Is this possible? My daughter is 11 years old.

Answer:

It is extremely rare to get chicken pox more than once, but there are some episodes of recurrent chicken pox that often occur in the elderly and are known as herpes zoster. There are also other viruses that sometimes can be confused with mild cases of chicken pox. In any case, this is just one of several viruses that have been associated with the onset of diabetes. Most current research does not believe these viruses are anything more than a nonspecific stress event in a person/child who is already genetically susceptible to getting diabetes. There is not much that we can do, at present, about avoiding many of these common illnesses. The latest research also confirms the LACK of association of getting immunized for any of the usual childhood diseases with the onset of diabetes despite earlier research that suggested otherwise.

SB