Type 1 diabetes is said to be extremely rare in children in India, where diabetes treated with insulin may be due to chronic pancreatic disease or malnutrition. To see whether typical type 1 diabetes occurred in Asian children in the United Kingdom, all known Asian children with diabetes in industrial West Yorkshire were ascertained. A total of 17 such children were studied; of these, seven were from three multiplex families and two fathers from these families had diabetes. All children were ketosis prone and developed diabetes while resident in the UK. There were significant increases in HLA-B8 and HLA-DR3 and increases in HLA-DR4 and HLA-DR3/DR4, while HLA-B15 was absent. Islet cell antibodies, either IgG or complement fixing, were present in four of 18 subjects tested, all of whom had disease of short duration. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes in Asian children aged 15 years or less in West Yorkshire was 36/100,000, assuming complete ascertainment. It is concluded that typical type 1 diabetes may occur in Asian children and this condition may be more common in families who have migrated to the UK.
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