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March 6, 2001

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Eutaw, Alabama, USA:

My three and one-half year old nephew had the rotovirus last week and was hospitalized. In my research on this topic, I read somewhere that the rotovirus could lead to the onset of diabetes. He has night sweats and thirst and constantly craves sweets. The rotovirus symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea with dehydration. Any truth to this?

Answer:

I don’t think “lead” is the right word. Certainly, we feel viruses may be a “trigger” to the autoimmune diabetes response. Remember, it takes months to years from the initial insult to diabetes. So, if diabetes appears right after the viral illness, the diabetes was right around the corner. The pancreas was destroyed already, and the illness was the last straw to tip the patient over.

LD