HealthDay News — A public health screening for islet autoantibodies demonstrated prevalence of 0.31% among children aged 2 to 5 years, according to a study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Anette-Gabriele Ziegler, MD, from the German Research Center for Environmental Health in Munich-Neuherberg, and colleagues examined the prevalence of presymptomatic type 1 diabetes in children participating in a public health screening program for islet autoantibodies in Bavaria, Germany. Families of children with multiple islet autoantibodies (presymptomatic type 1 diabetes) were invited to participate in a metabolic staging and educational program and were followed for progression to clinical diabetes.

The researchers found that 0.31% (280) of 90,632 children screened had presymptomatic type 1 diabetes, including 0.22, 0.02, and 0.03% with stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3, respectively. Another 36 children developed stage 3 type 1 diabetes after a median follow-up of 2.4 years. For stage 3 type 1 diabetes, the 3-year cumulative risk was 24.9% in the 280 children with presymptomatic type 1 diabetes (annualized rate, 9.0%). Diabetic ketoacidosis was identified in 2 children.

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“A crucial finding of the study is that there is a 9% annualized risk for disease progression in children with presymptomatic disease,” Ziegler said in a statement. “Its implication is that multiple antibodies can be used to identify children with presymptomatic type 1 diabetes who could benefit from intervention in any childhood population regardless of genetic risk.”

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