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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Georgia State Studies Link between Diabetes and Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis

Diabetes does not appear to be associated with a patient developing extrapulmonary tuberculosis, unlike HIV, which increases the likelihood of developing severe forms of this less common type of tuberculosis, according to a study led by the Georgia State University School of Public Health.

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[Photo: Dr. Matthew Magee]

Extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) is tuberculosis disease that involves organs other than the lungs, including joints, bones, central nervous system, or kidneys. Nearly 15 percent the 9.6 million annual tuberculosis cases worldwide are EPTB cases. Because EPTB occurs more commonly in people with impaired immunity, such as diabetes, researchers studied the link between the two diseases.

“We know that diabetes increases the risk of getting TB, generally,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Matthew Magee, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Georgia State. “And recently, TB surpassed HIV as the leading infectious disease cause of death for adults worldwide.”

The results of the study are published in Epidemiology & Infection in a paper, titled “Diabetes mellitus and extrapulmonary tuberculosis: site distribution and risk of mortality.”

Researchers reviewed all tuberculosis cases involving patients 16 years and older in the state of Georgia between January 2009 and September 2012 and found 1,325 eligible patients with active TB. Those cases also included medical records, which indicated the patients’ diabetes status and site of TB.

EPTB was present in 369 patients. Researchers stated they did not find evidence in the data that patients with diabetes were more likely to have EPTB compared to the more common pulmonary tuberculosis. They also stated that the study backed up previous findings that HIV and kidney disease are associated with EPTB and increased risk of death.

The study’s authors included Drs. Mary Foote, Susan Ray, Neel Gandhi and Russell Kempker with Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.