Concomitant <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> infection and type 2 diabetes: A descriptive model with global health implications
The type 2 diabetes (diabetes) pandemic is recognized as a threat to tuberculosis (TB) control worldwide. This secondary data analysis project estimated the contribution of diabetes to TB in a binational community on the Texas-Mexico border where both diseases occur. Newly-diagnosed TB patients > 20 years of age were prospectively enrolled at Texas-Mexico border clinics between January 2006 and November 2008. Upon enrollment, information regarding social, demographic, and medical risks for TB was collected at interview, including self-reported diabetes. In addition, self-reported diabetes was supported by blood-confirmation according to guidelines published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). For this project, data was compared to existing statistics for TB incidence and diabetes prevalence from the corresponding general populations of each study site to estimate the relative and attributable risks of diabetes to TB. In concordance with historical sociodemographic data provided for TB patients with self-reported diabetes, our TB patients with diabetes also lacked the risk factors traditionally associated with TB (alcohol abuse, drug abuse, history of incarceration, and HIV infection); instead, the majority of our TB patients with diabetes were characterized by overweight/obesity, chronic hyperglycemia, and older median age. In addition, diabetes prevalence among our TB patients was significantly higher than in the corresponding general populations. Findings of this study will help accurately characterize TB patients with diabetes, thus aiding in the timely recognition and diagnosis of TB in a population not traditionally viewed as at-risk. We provide epidemiological and biological evidence that diabetes continues to be an increasingly important risk factor for TB.