Type 1 diabetes and measles, mumps and rubella childhood infections within the Italian Insulin-dependent Diabetes Registry

Diabet Med. 2012 Jun;29(6):761-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03529.x.


Aims: Several studies confirmed the growing rate of Type 1 diabetes mellitus in childhood coinciding with increasing diagnosis of viral infections. A study investigating the incidence of Type 1 diabetes during 1996-1997 showed a higher notification of viral infections in the Pavia District. The aim was to confirm these results.

Methods: This study evaluated the relationship between new cases of Type 1 diabetes and those of measles, mumps and rubella in 1996-2001, analysing data of newly-diagnosed Type 1 diabetes children, aged 0-14 years and enrolled into the RIDI (Italian Insulin-dependent Diabetes Registry) during the same years. Measles, rubella and mumps rates were calculated using as denominator the estimated 'population at risk', represented by the number of 0- to 14 year-old subjects who did not undergo the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination. In order to investigate the association between Type 1 diabetes incidence and measles, rubella and mumps respectively, Spearman's rank correlation was used.

Results: The analysis of the whole Registries data did not at first show any statistical significance between age-standardized Type 1 diabetes incidence density and estimated rates of measles, mumps and rubella notifications. Excluding data from Sardinia Registry, a significant association was observed between Type 1 diabetes incidence and mumps (P = 0.034) and rubella (P = 0.014), respectively, while there was no statistical significance between the incidence of measles cases and diabetes rates (P = 0.269).

Conclusions: According to our findings, mumps and rubella viral infections are associated with the onset of Type 1 diabetes. The statistical significance observed after exclusion of the Sardinian data suggests that other environmental factors may operate over populations with different genetic susceptibility.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Measles / blood
  • Measles / epidemiology*
  • Measles / immunology
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine* / administration & dosage
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine* / immunology
  • Mumps / blood
  • Mumps / epidemiology*
  • Mumps / immunology
  • Registries
  • Rubella / blood
  • Rubella / epidemiology*
  • Rubella / immunology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine