Journal Article
Observational Study
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Prevalence and factors associated with thyroid autoimmunity among children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Kuwait.

AIMS: This study reports the prevalence and characteristics related to the development of thyroid autoimmunity among children newly diagnosed with type I diabetes (T1D) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kuwait.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a prospective observational study of all children under age 14 years newly diagnosed with T1D in Kuwait. We define the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic from the official declaration of the first identified positive COVID-19 case on 24 February 2020 until 31 December 2022. For comparison, we use the time period directly before the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 January 2017 to 23 February 2020.

RESULTS: One thousand twenty-four (1024) children newly diagnosed with T1D in Kuwait during the study period were included. Among newly diagnosed children, 20.3% tested positive for thyroid antibodies during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with 14.5% during the pre-pandemic period (p = 0.015). Children with positive COVID-19 status were more likely to present with thyroid antibodies (p = 0.035). After adjusting for other characteristics, patients diagnosed with T1D during the COVID-19 pandemic had double the odds of testing positive for thyroid antibodies (Adjusted odds ratio = 2.173, 95%CI: 1.108, 4.261, p = 0.024).

CONCLUSIONS: Incident cases of T1D during the COVID-19 pandemic may be different in aetiology or contextual factors leading to a higher risk of thyroid autoimmunity. Longitudinal studies are needed to understand the role of COVID-19 in the onset and progression of T1D and on thyroid autoimmunity and disease.

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