Common infections may cause diabetes in children and young adults, say scientists who analysed 25 years of data on more than 4,000 young people with type 1 diabetes in Britain's Yorkshire county.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body fails to produce any insulin to control levels of sugar in the blood, and usually emerges before the age of 40.
The researchers led by Dr Richard McNally from Leeds and Newcastle found clusters of unusually high numbers of cases among 10- to 19-year-olds in certain locations and at certain times, reported the online edition of BBC News.
Common infections and certain environment may have played a role, they argue in the journal Diabetologia.
There are about 250,000 people with type 1 diabetes in Britain, and the number of cases in children is rising by three percent each year.
It has previously been suggested that infections are linked to the development of type 1 diabetes in children who are genetically susceptible to certain environmental triggers.
Scientists have also earlier suspected that common infections could be a trigger for type 1 diabetes in those who are already genetically susceptible.
"This research brings us closer to understanding more about type 1 diabetes," McNally said.