In the Southern Highlands of Tanzania the prevalence of endemic goitre due to iodine deficiency is in the range of 90% and hypothyroidism in the range of 50% of schoolchildren. The present study confirms these data and documents the beneficial effect of Lipiodol injections on thyroid function in children around the age of puberty compared with untreated children from the same villages. On the other hand, a decrease in the prevalence of goitre could not be shown. A beneficial effect is shown for infants of mothers who received iodine during pregnancy. It seems that this form of supplementation is sufficient for breast fed children for more than three years, even when a second child has been delivered in the meantime. In contrast, older siblings of these babies may become hypothyroid when breast feeding is stopped. The determination of thyroid autoantibodies in iodine treated and untreated children and in young adults showed no increasing prevalence of positive findings thus excluding iodine induced chronic thyroiditis at least in the young target population.
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