Viral Pancreatitis and Diabetes

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Several viruses occasionally infect the pancreas in humans. Mumps, for example, can be complicated by severe pancreatitis, and coxsackie B viruses or various other enteroviruses have been incriminated also. Of greater research interest is the question of whether viruses may trigger juvenile diabetes mellitus of the insulin-dependent type (IDDM). Children born with the congenital rubella syndrome quite often develop IDDM before the age of 20. Mumps infections often affect the p cells of the pancreas. Mumps virus, reovirus, and coxsackie B viruses have all been demonstrated to induce diabetes in mice, but there is still no proof that these viruses induce IDDM in humans. The association of IDDM with particular human leukocyte antigen (HLA) types has encouraged a hypothesis that pancreatic infection with any of perhaps several viruses may trigger autoimmune destruction of fi cells.

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