Children with Type 1 diabetes are almost 10 times likelier to be infected by a cold-like virus compared to counterparts without the disease, according to a paper published on Friday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Enteroviruses are common viruses that can lead to cold- or flu-like symptoms, aching muscles and rashes or even meningitis.
Researchers in Australia carried out a trawl of 26 published studies that tested the blood or stools of patients for telltale genetic material and protein from enteroviruses.
Nearly 4,448 people were screened, including pre-diabetic and diabetic patients as well as non-diabetics.
The study found an unmistakeable association between enteroviruses and diabetes, but the mechanism is unclear.
An estimated 285 million people worldwide had diabetes in 2010, according to the International Diabetes Federation, which predicts as many as 438 million will have diabetes by 2030.
Between 90 and 95 percent of present-day cases are Type 2 diabetes, which shows up in adulthood, and the rest are Type 1, or "early onset," diabetes, whose prevalence has risen sharply in recent years among the under-fives.
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