Patients with diabetes are at higher risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB) than non-diabetic patients, according to a study conducted in the Texas/Mexico border.

The prevalence of diabetes among TB patients was 39 percent in Texas and 36 percent in Mexico. Diabetes contributed 25 percent of the TB cases studied, whereas HIV infection contributed only five percent or fewer.

Among TB patients, fewer Mexicans than Texans were aware that they had diabetes before this study (four percent and 19 percent, respectively). Men were also less frequently aware than women that they had diabetes. Patients who knew that they had diabetes before the study had an eight-year history of the disease, on average, before being diagnosed with TB.

1. Restrepo BI, Camerlin AJ, Rahbar MH, et al. Cross-sectional assessment reveals high diabetes prevalence among newly-diagnosed tuberculosis cases. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2011; 89: 352-359. (open access)