Influence of diabetes mellitus and risk factors in activating latent tuberculosis infection: A case for targeted screening in Malaysia

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A review of the epidemiology of tuberculosis, its contributing risk factors (excluding HIV) and the role of screening latent tuberculosis infection in Malaysia was done. Despite the global and domestic decrease in prevalence rates of tuberculosis in the past decade, there is an alarming increase in the trend of non communicable diseases in the country. High prevalence rates of major risk factors leading to reactivation of tuberculosis were seen within the population, with diabetes mellitus being in the forefront. The rising numbers in the ageing population of Malaysia poses a further threat of re-emergence of tuberculosis in the years to come. Economically, screening of diabetic patients with comorbidities for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) using two major techniques, namely tuberculin sensitivity (TST) and Interferon gamma release assay tests (IGRA) could be a viable option. The role of future research in the detection of LTBI in the Malaysian setting might be necessary to gauge the disease reservoir before implementing prophylactic measures for high risk groups involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Journal of Malaysia
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • IGRA
  • Latent tuberculosis infection
  • Non communicable diseases
  • Prophylactic treatment
  • Risk factors
  • TST

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