A new study by scientists in the United States has revealed a new link between type 2 diabetes and the risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB). The research showed that diabetes patients have a three to five times greater chance of getting TB than non-diabetics .
The study, carried out at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisatio, involved 233 TB patients, finding that 25 per cent of TB cases could be attributed to the presence of diabetes, while just 6 per cent of the TB cases were due to HIV . Those at the greatest risk were diabetics who have had recent contact with a TB patient.
TB is known to be the most lethal of the global bacterial diseases . It is thought that diabetes depresses the immune response, which can lead to infection by mycobacterium tuberculosis and potentially progress to the symptomatic disease.
Blanca Restrepo, lead investigator in the study, commented “With the increase in diabetes patients in TB-endemic areas, our findings highlight the re-emerging impact of diabetes mellitus, known as type 2, on TB control in regions of the world where both diseases are prevalent.”
She added “There is a need to focus on identifying the opportunities to prevent TB in diabetes patients. Physicians should be screening at-risk diabetic patients for TB and patients should be aware of their diabetes status.”

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