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Pandemic may have delayed type 1 diabetes diagnoses

Many children may have delayed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in Diabetes Care.

Ivana Rabbone, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Piemonte Orientale in Novara, Italy, and colleagues surveyed all Italian pediatric diabetes centers to collect diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and COVID-19 data for patients presenting with new-onset or established type 1 diabetes between Feb. 20 and April 14 for both 2019 and 2020.

The researchers found that based on responses from 53 centers, there was a 23 percent reduction in new diabetes cases in 2020 versus 2019. Of newly diagnosed patients who presented in a state of DKA, the proportion with severe DKA was higher in 2020 (44.3 percent in 2020 versus 36.1 percent in 2019). Rates of acute complications were similar between the two years.

“The COVID-19 pandemic might have altered diabetes presentation and DKA severity,” the authors write. “Preparing for any ‘second wave’ requires strategies to educate and reassure parents about timely emergency department attendance for non-COVID-19 symptoms.”

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