What’s the link? Diabetes, latent TB, active TB disease and drug resistant TB

Bobby Ramakant – CNS (Citizen News Service)

Incidentally, the opening day of the largest global lung health conference, also marked the World Obesity Day. One of the important highlights at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health was the study that probed if diabetes affects latent (or dormant) TB infection.

Earlier a few studies have shown that people with diabetes who have poor glycemic control (or diabetes control) are at especially high-risk to develop active TB disease. But only a few studies done before, have investigated the relationship between diabetes and latent TB infection, and none of these studies have been population-based and were all in high-risk individuals.

Latent TB infection vs active TB disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), persons with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. They are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but do not have TB disease. Persons with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others. Overall, without treatment, about 5 to 10% of infected persons will develop TB disease at some time in their lives.

Poorly controlled diabetes increases risk of latent TB

Dr Leonardo Martinez, Post-doctoral research fellow, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, USA, who is among the study researchers, shared the outcomes of the study “Promising results for an investigation of Glycemic control and prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI): population-based study”. He said that poorly controlled diabetes presents a higher risk for latent TB infection and that this may be a group to target for latent TB testing and consideration of latent TB therapy.

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