September 30, 2014 – Epidemic TB and Diabetes


Anchor lead:  Will the rising tide of diabetes worldwide sweep away gains made in tuberculosis control? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Multidrug resistant and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis  are already worldwide concerns. Enter now the worldwide epidemic of diabetes, which a recent Lancet series identified as a risk factor for the development of TB, and conditions seem right for the perfect storm. Jonathan Golub, a TB and diabetes expert at Johns Hopkins, echoes these sentiments.

Golub: I think it could become huge.  In these countries where tuberculosis has been out of control and in epidemic proportions for many years, we’ve started to see a slow decline in tuberculosis globally, which is wonderful.  However if you start to think about diabetes as a risk factor for TB and if diabetes starts to increase in these settings, then you’ve got a whole lot more people who are at risk for developing TB. And therefore you might stem the tides that we’re seeing in declines of tuberculosis globally.   :28

Golub reiterates that prevention of both TB and diabetes remains the best intervention.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.