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J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Jan;15(1):53-7.

Incidence of childhood type 1 diabetes mellitus in Gomel, Belarus.

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Regional Centre for Juvenile Diabetes, Paediatric Hospital A. Meyer, Florence, Italy.



The importance of genetic and environmental factors in causing type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) in many European countries is unknown. We studied this question by assessing the incidence of the disease in children in Gomel, Belarus, in the years subsequent to the Chernobyl disaster, comparing it to the antecedent period.


We identified all new patients with DM1 under 15 years at onset who presented between 1976 and 1999; we used as denominator the number of children aged 0-14 born in Gomel, to calculate the incidence. All data were validated by using the capture-recapture method. We compared the incidence rate between the periods before and after 1986; we also calculated the average increment of incidence in the latter period (1987-1999).


In the whole period, 438 new patients presented, with an average crude rate of incidence of 4.6/100,000 but with a net difference between the former (before 1986) and latter (after 1986) periods. The average standard incidence in the latter period was 5.7 (C.I. 4.5-7.0), with a significant increase in the 10-14 year age group. The average yearly increase of incidence in the same period was 8.9%, highly significant (p < 0.001).


The results seem to confirm the hypothesis of the influence of environmental pollution subsequent to the Chernobyl accident.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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