child mom lung xrayRespiratory infections in early childhood are a potential risk factor for the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), according to study results published online ahead of print in JAMA Pediatrics. The authors also identified some evidence for short-term effects of infectious events on development of autoimmunity, while cumulative exposure alone seemed not to be causative.
Investigators documented infectious events during their first three years of life for 148 children at high risk for T1D. They discovered an association between an increased hazard ratio (HR) of islet autoantibody seroconversion with respiratory infections during the first six months of life and ages 6 to almost 12 months. During the second year of life, no meaningful associations were detected for any infectious category.
“Potential prevention strategies against T1D derived from studies like this might address early vaccination against specific infectious agents,” the authors concluded. “Unfortunately, we were not able to identify a single infectious agent that might be instrumental in the development of T1D. Our results point to a potential role of infections in the upper respiratory tract and specifically of acute rhinopharyngitis.”