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Diabetes and TB Often Linked Along Tex-Mex Border

Diabetics nearly twice as likely to have tuberculosis as non-diabetics

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Residents of Texas who are diabetics and live near the Mexican border are about twice as likely to have tuberculosis as non-diabetics, according to a report in the April issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Adriana Perez, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center in Brownsville, and colleagues used data from the Texas Health Care Information Council collected between 1999 and 2001 to assess the link between tuberculosis and diabetes. They compared patients hospitalized in 15 counties on the border with Mexico versus non-border counties, including 4,915 patients with tuberculosis and 70,808 controls with deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and appendicitis.

Texas patients with diabetes who lived in counties along the Mexican border were 1.82 times as likely to have tuberculosis as non-diabetics, while those living in non-border counties had 1.53 times the risk. This was true for Hispanics alone, and for all races combined.

"The higher incidence of tuberculosis in the border region is likely caused by increased risk of exposure to M. tuberculosis," the authors write. "We confirm that diabetes is an important factor for having tuberculosis, but we have no evidence to distinguish between activation of latent tuberculosis infection or primary disease."

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