Background: To study the epidemiology of childhood-onset type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes in Europe, the EURODIAB collaborative group established in 1988 prospective geographically-defined registers of new cases diagnosed under 15 years of age. This report is based on 16 362 cases registered during the period 1989-94 by 44 centres representing most European countries and Israel and covering a population of about 28 million children.
Methods: Multiple sources of ascertainment were used in most centres to validate the completeness of registration by the capture-recapture method. Trends in incidence during the period were analysed by Poisson regression, the data from centres within each country being pooled.
Findings: The standardised average annual incidence rate during the period 1989-94 ranged from 3.2 cases per 100000 per year in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to 40.2 cases per 100000 per year in two regions of Finland. By pooling over all centres, the annual rate of increase in incidence was 3.4% (95% CI 2.5-4.4%), but in some central European countries it was more rapid than this. Pooled over centres and sexes, the rates of increase were 6.3% (4.1-8.5%) for children aged 0-4 years, 3.1% (1.5-4.8%) for 5-9 years, and 2.4% (1.0-3.8%) for 10-14 years.
Interpretation: The results confirm a very wide range of incidence rates within Europe and show that the increase in incidence during the period varied from country to country. The rapid rate of increase in children aged under 5 years is of particular concern.