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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nigel Unwin
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Background: There is good evidence that diabetes is a risk factor for pulmonary tuberculosis. In England, the rates of both diabetes and tuberculosis vary markedly by ethnic group. Objective: To estimate the proportion of incident cases of pulmonary tuberculosis attributable to diabetes (population attributable fraction, PAF) for Asian, black and white men and women aged ≥15 years in England. Methods: An epidemiological model was constructed using data on the incidence of tuberculosis, the prevalence of diabetes, the population structure for 2005 and the age-specific relative risk of tuberculosis associated with diabetes from a large cohort study. Results: The estimated PAF of diabetes for pulmonary tuberculosis is highest for Asian men (19.6%, 95% CI 10.9% to 33.1%) and women (14.2%, 95% CI 7.1% to 26.5%). The PAF for all ages is similar in white and black men (6.9%, 95% CI 3.1% to 12.4% and 7.4%, 95% CI 4.6% to 12.9%, respectively) and women (8.2%, 95% CI 3.0% to 15.6% and 8.9%, 95% CI 5.3% to 15.6%, respectively). The similarity of these overall figures, despite a higher prevalence of diabetes in the black population, reflects a much younger mean age of pulmonary tuberculosis in the black population. Overall, of 3461 new cases of pulmonary tuberculosis in England in 2005, 384 (202-780) were estimated to be attributable to diabetes. Conclusion: Given the nature of the data available, considerable uncertainty surrounds these estimates. Nonetheless, they highlight the potential importance of diabetes as a risk factor for pulmonary tuberculosis, particularly in groups at high risk of both diseases. Further research to examine the implications of these findings for tuberculosis control is urgently needed.
Author(s): Walker C, Unwin N
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 26/04/2010
ISSN (print): 0040-6376
ISSN (electronic): 1468-3296
Publisher: BMJ Group
PubMed id: 20421330
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