Diabetics more vulnerable to develop tuberculosis

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Washington, Jul 15 (UNI) People with diabetes mellitus are three times more likely to develop active tuberculosis (TB), and it may be to blame for the increasing TB cases in India and China, according to an analysis published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) journal Medicine.

In order to probe the link between the diseases, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston examined data on more than 1.7 million people, including 17,698 cases of TB from 13 studies done in the US, Canada, Mexico, Britain, Russia, Taiwan and India, over the past four decades.

An analysis of the studies revealed that diabetes increased the risk of active TB three fold.

The findings indicated diabetes might be responsible for more than 10 per cent of TB cases in India and China, the nations with the most tuberculosis cases.

''The contribution of diabetes to the burden of TB may be even higher in countries such as India and China where the incidence of TB is greater and mean age is lower,'' said researchers Christie Y Jeon and Megan B Murray in their paper titled 'Diabetes Mellitus Increases the Risk of Active Tuberculosis'.

According to a World Health Organisation report, India accounts for the largest share of 22 per cent of the three million new TB cases in South-East Asia every year.

''If these findings are replicated in other countries, global TB control might benefit from special attention to people with diabetes when identifying and treating latent TB,'' the researchers suggested.

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