The diabetes epidemic could substantially affect tuberculosis (TB) epidemiology in high TB burden countries, according to a new study by researchers at National Taiwan University (NTU). The study was published online in March in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Conducted by Drs. Hsien-Ho Lin and Chi-Tai Fang, associate professors of Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in the College of Public Health (CPH), NTU and their colleague, Dr. Sung-Ching Pan in National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH), the study explored whether increasing prevalence of diabetes would affect tuberculosis control in HBCs. Based on the available knowledge of global epidemiology of diabetes and TB, the study team used mathematical models to project the different effects of diabetes prevention on the future TB incidence and mortality in 13 high TB burden countries.
“If the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise as it has been in the past decade in the 13 countries (base case scenario), the analysis projected that the cumulative reduction in tuberculosis incidence would only be 8·8% by 2035, far below the 90% reduction target set by WHO in its new post-2015 End TB Strategy,” said Dr. Hsien-Ho Lin. Compared with the base case scenario, stopping the rise of diabetes would avoid 6 million incident TB cases 1·1 million TB deaths. Dr. Chi-Tai Fang pointed out that “The diabetes epidemic could substantially affect tuberculosis epidemiology in high burden countries.”
Currently, the efforts of preventing diabetes and controlling TB are disjoint and separated under different health sectors. Given the significance of the study results, the authors suggested that “The communicable disease and non-communicable disease sectors need to move beyond conventional boundary and link with each other to form a joint response to diabetes and tuberculosis”.