Viral Diabetes

  • John E. Craighead


A viral etiology for diabetes mellitus was first proposed over 50 years ago when Gunderson documented an association between community outbreaks of mumps and the occurrence of new cases of abrupt-onset disease.1 Since that time, reports in the literature have emphasized repeatedly the role of mumps virus in the causation of diabetes.2–7 Recently, several additional viruses that commonly infect man have been implicated. Among these, rubella and group B Coxsackieviruses are accorded major attention.8–16 Many features of insulin-dependent, type I diabetes mellitus are consistent with a viral etiology. The disease often is abrupt in onset and some clinicians have noted a preceding episode of virallike illness. Moreover, numerous epidemiological studies document seasonal clustering of new cases, an observation suggesting a relationship to outbreaks of viral infections, in the community.17–21 Studies of sets of identical twins by several groups of investigators also have implicated environmental factors in the pathogenesis of at least some cases of type I diabetes mellitus.22,23


Pancreatic Tissue Blood Glucose Concentration Virus Inoculation Coxsackie Virus Mumps Virus 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • John E. Craighead
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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