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Pediatr Diabetes. 2019 Aug 3. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12902. [Epub ahead of print]

Screening children for type 1 diabetes-associated antibodies at community health fairs.

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Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.



The incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is increasing, most notably in young children and in racial and ethnic minorities. Historically, screening for risk with T1D-associated antibodies has been limited to those with a family history, while up to 90% of newly diagnosed patients lack such a family history. To address the needs to screen diverse ethnic groups in the general population, we screened children for T1D-associated antibodies in the Denver, Colorado metro area at community health fairs.


Children attending health fairs from 2015 to 2018 were offered free T1D screening by measuring the four prototypical T1D-associated antibodies. A finger stick capillary puncture was performed to collect blood spots on filter paper. Dried blood spots (DBSs) were eluted and antibodies were measured using fluid-phase radio-binding assays.


At 39 health fairs, children were educated on the signs and symptoms of diabetes, and screened for T1D-associated antibodies (n = 478), which represented 90% of those that attended. Median age was 9.0 years (range of 1-18) with diverse ethnic backgrounds: 37% Hispanic, 31% Caucasian, 20% African American, and 12% other. Nine children screened positive for antibodies, single n = 8 and multiple n = 1, and confirmation with serum samples showed excellent correlation to the measurements from DBSs for antibodies directed against GAD, IA-2, and ZnT8 (P < .01 for each).


Screening for T1D risk at community health fairs using DBSs on filter paper is feasible and provides an avenue to screen children from ethnically diverse backgrounds.


children; health fairs; islet autoantibodies; screening; type 1 diabetes


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