15 percent of TB cases can be attributed to diabetes

A series of papers published in The Lancet reveal that 15 percent of adult tuberculosis (TB) cases worldwide can be attributed to diabetes.

According to the authors, these diabetes-related TB cases constitute about 1 million cases a year - and the numbers are continuing to grow.

Among the countries that see the most TB cases related to diabetes are India and China, a press release on the papers stated.

TB infection affects glucose control

A "double disease" burden is facing these types of countries, as diabetes increases the risk of developing active TB, while TB infection can negatively impact glucose control in diabetes patients.

The soaring diabetes rate has caused a jump in diabetes-related TB cases from 10 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2013, the authors explained.

"These findings highlight the growing impact of diabetes on TB control in regions of the world where both diseases are prevalent," said author Dr. Knut Lönnroth from the Global TB Programme at WHO in Geneva. "TB control is being undermined by the growing number of people with diabetes, which is expected to reach an astounding 592 million worldwide by 2035."

According to series co-author Dr Reinout van Crevel, people with diabetes have a three times greater risk for contracting TB than people without the blood sugar condition, and their odds of dying during treatment are much greater, too.

The authors calculated that with the right public health efforts, however, TB cases could be drastically reduced in the next few decades.

"If we are to achieve the ambitious post-2015 global TB target to reduce TB incidence by 90% by 2035, increased efforts to diagnose and treat both TB and diabetes, especially in countries with a high burden of both diseases, will be crucial," Lönnroth said.

Source: The Lancet

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