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UTHealth researchers find diabetics at higher risk of tuberculosis infection
Date:5/24/2011

HOUSTON-(May 23, 2011)-People with diabetes have a three to five times higher risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB) than non-diabetics, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Results of the study, which included 233 patients with TB who live in Texas and Mexico along the border, are published in the May issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"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," said Blanca Restrepo Ph.D., lead investigator and associate professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus, a part of UTHealth. "There is a need to focus on identifying the opportunities to prevent TB in diabetes patients."

Study results found 25 percent of TB cases were attributed to the presence of diabetes. In contrast, only 6 percent of the TB cases were due to HIV.

"Physicians should be screening at-risk diabetic patients for TB and patients should be aware of their diabetes status," said Restrepo. "Opportunities are being missed for patients and physicians to work together to manage both diseases." At-risk patients are considered those who have diabetes and had recent contact with a TB patient, making them prime candidates for preventive TB treatment.

TB is a leading killer among bacterial diseases worldwide. In 2009, more than 9 million new cases were diagnosed and 1.7 million people died from the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) suspects TB control is being undermined by the growing number of patients with diabetes mellitus in the world, which is anticipated to reach 438 million by 2030. Research suggests that diabetes depresses the immune response, which
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Contact: Jade Waddy
jade.waddy@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3307
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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