The researchers found that 14.8% of the participants had diabetes and that the severity of their TB was comparable to the participants without diabetes, even though they initially exhibited more TB symptoms.
The researchers monitored both the diabetic and nondiabetic participants while they received TB treatment. After two months, they found that the group with diabetes was more likely to have positive sputum test results --18.1% of people with diabetes had positive sputum results, compared with 10% among the nondiabetics. After six months, 22.2% of the people with diabetes had positive sputum results, while 9.5% of the nondiabetics had positive sputum results.
According to van Crevel, the reason for the findings is unclear, but he said that screening for diabetes and aggressively treating the disease might improve the outcomes of people receiving treatment for TB.
The study results "highlight the need for further research aimed at understanding how the current global epidemic" of type 2 diabetes is "affecting TB control and prevention," Blanca Restrepo, a TB researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, wrote in a related opinion piece.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation