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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - PloS one
Title Tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, diabetes, low body mass index and the risk of self-reported symptoms of active tuberculosis: individual participant data (IPD) meta-analyses of 72,684 individuals in 14 high tuberculosis burden countries
Author(s)
Volume 9
Issue 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0096433
Abstract
Background

The effects of multiple exposures on active tuberculosis (TB) are largely undetermined. We sought to establish a dose-response relationship for smoking, drinking, and body mass index (BMI) and to investigate the independent and joint effects of these and diabetes on the risk of self-reported symptoms of active TB disease.

Methods and Findings

We analyzed 14 national studies in 14 high TB-burden countries using self-reports of blood in cough/phlegm and cough lasting >?=?3 weeks in the last year as the measures of symptoms of active TB. The random effect estimates of the relative risks (RR) between active TB and smoking, drinking, diabetes, and BMI<18.5 kg/m2 were reported for each gender. Floating absolute risks were used to examine dyads of exposure. Adjusted for age and education, the risks of active TB were significantly associated with diabetes and BMI<18.5 kg/m2 in both sexes, with ever drinking in men and with ever smoking in women. Stronger dose-response relationships were seen in women than in men for smoking amount, smoking duration and drinking amount but BMI<18.5 kg/m2 showed a stronger dose-response relationship in men. In men, the risks from joint exposures were statistically significant for diabetics with BMI<18.5 kg/m2 (RR?=?6.4), diabetics who smoked (RR?=?3.8), and diabetics who drank alcohol (RR?=?3.2). The risks from joint risk factors were generally larger in women than in men, with statistically significant risks for diabetics with BMI<18.5 kg/m2 (RR?=?10.0), diabetics who smoked (RR?=?5.4) and women with BMI<18.5 kg/m2 who smoked (RR?=?5.0). These risk factors account for 61% of male and 34% of female estimated TB incidents in these 14 countries.

Conclusions

Tobacco, alcohol, diabetes, and low BMI are significant individual risk factors but in combination are associated with triple or quadruple the risk of development of recent active TB. These risk factors might help to explain the wide variation in TB across countries.

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