Strong diabetes and TB connection discovered in Australia

Diabetes and TB connection discovered in Australia
Diabetes and TB connection discovered in Australia | Courtesy of
Researchers at Australia’s James Cook University discovered a strong connection between tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes in the nation’s tropical region in a study published the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Though there has been improvements in antibiotics and sanitation, TB continues to be one of the leading bacterial killers around the world.

The study, which lasted 20 years, also included researchers from Townsville Hospital. The research built on previous studies conducted in developing countries, which still have TB at endemic status. The earlier studies also showed a connection between TB and diabetes.

The latest study showed that patients who have diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing TB when compared to the general population.

"If a person has diabetes, they are up to seven times more likely to contract TB compared to the general population," James Cook University Researcher Tahnee Bridson said.

The study also suggests that overseas-born patients, mostly from Papua New Guinea, and Indigenous Australians have been over-represented in the TB-diabetes group as well as the stand-alone group. 

"You can have TB your whole life and not know it, but if you suffer from diabetes and your immune system is not functioning well, it can flare up,” Townsville Hospital Director of Microbiology Robert Norton said.

Further details are available in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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