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Experts Warn Diabetes will Fuel Tuberculosis

Update Date: Oct 29, 2014 10:29 AM EDT

Health experts have expressed their concerns over rising tuberculosis (TB) cases on Wednesday. According to the experts, diabetes can fuel TB, which is why more efforts need to be taken in order to prevent the rate of diabetes from increasing.

"We want to raise an alarm that we don't watch history repeat itself with TB-diabetes," Anthony Harries of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease told Reuters reported in FOX News.

The experts reported that diabetes could triple a person's risk of developing TB because the chronic illness weakens the immune system. TB, which was linked to 1.5 million deaths last year according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a respiratory illness caused by bacteria. The bacteria can remain dormant for years; however, researchers have found that diabetics are more likely than other people to get sick from a latent TB infection.

"If we don't act now to head this off, we're going to experience a co-epidemic of TB-diabetes that will impact millions and sap public health systems of precious resources. The key is to prevent this from happening," Anil Kapur of the World Diabetes Foundation said.

Harries' and Kapur's groups are particularly concerned about the TB-diabetes issue in six nations where the rate of diabetes is expected to soar by 2035. These countries, which are Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia, have also been grouped by the WHO as "high TB burden" nations.

The team of experts presented their case at an international lung conference in Barcelona. They are calling for international action to help prevent a co-epidemic.

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