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Diabetics at greater risk of TB: study

Diabetics at greater risk of TB: study
Photo: Diabetics at greater risk of TB: study
Diabetics should all be screened for tuberculosis because they are seven times more likely to develop TB, a Queensland study has found.

People with diabetes are up to seven times more likely to catch tuberculosis, Queensland scientists say.

A 20-year James Cook University study has found the weakened immune systems of diabetics make them more vulnerable to tuberculosis.

The infectious disease most commonly affects the lungs and can be fatal.

"If you suffer from diabetes and your immune system is not functioning well, it can flare up," Director of Microbiology at Townsville Hospital, Dr Robert Norton, said.

All diabetes sufferers should therefore be screened for tuberculosis, he said.

"It is especially important because the prevalence of type two diabetes is increasing at a very significant pace," he said.
Last year, there were 168 reported cases of the illness in Queensland, which remains the leading cause of bacterial death worldwide.

The results of the study, undertaken at Townsville Hospital, are in line with research conducted in developing countries which shows a similar link between the two conditions.

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