Seasonal variation in the incidence of Type 1 diabetes mellitus during 1983 to 1992 in the countries around the Baltic Sea

Diabet Med. 1999 Sep;16(9):736-43. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.1999.00140.x.


Aim: To examine seasonal patterns of incidence of Type 1 diabetes mellitus incidence in children aged 0-14 years in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during 1983-1992 (1987-1992 for Finland).

Methods: The study used a method that models incidence data using combinations of sine waves to model seasonal variation around a possible linear trend.

Results: In Finland, a significant pattern was found for combined sexes and age groups 0-9 and 10-14 years. A significant pattern was also confirmed for 10-14 year-old boys. In Sweden, the best model with significant pattern was found separately for boys and girls and age groups 0-9 and 10-14 years, however, a significant pattern was confirmed for older girls only. A seasonal pattern in older boys in Finland and girls in Sweden was characterized by two cycles with decreased incidence in June and November-December. The pattern among younger children (0-9 or 5-9 years) had one cycle with a decreased incidence in May-June. In Estonia, a significant pattern was found for the age group 0-14 years and combined sexes. No significant seasonal patterns were found in Latvia and Lithuania.

Conclusions: The seasonal pattern with two cycles among older children and one cycle only among younger children may indicate different triggers of Type 1 diabetes mellitus for different age groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Estonia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Latvia / epidemiology
  • Lithuania / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seasons*
  • Sweden / epidemiology