DIABETES patients are three times more likely to have tuberculosis (TB) and also experience worse treatment outcomes than patients without diabetes.
They also experience an increased risk of death and recurrent disease.
This was revealed during the TB operational research workshop at the Fiji School of Medicine (FSM) yesterday.
A review was conducted of all TB patients registered in Fiji in 2011 to assess routine practices of screening for diabetes.
Dr Shakti Goundar of the National Tuberculosis Program(NTP) said there were 221 TB patients,of whom 138 (62 per cent) had their diabetes status recorded..
Dr Goundar said 18 (13 per cent) had a known history of diabetes.
"The main observation was a significantly higher rate of diabetes in Fijians of Indian descent compared with indigenous Fijians and the fact that the diabetes rate approached 50 per cent in adults aged more than 55 years."
He said diabetes was a growing problem in Fiji as about 16 per cent of the population suffered from the disease.
But he said many cases were not diagnosed or treated.
"Although Fiji is classified as a low TB burden country, this has become a matter of concern for the NTP as DM may lead to an increase in TB case burden and hamper current TB control efforts," he said.
He said when TB patients were registered in Fiji, they should be asked whether they had diabetes.