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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research Article

Smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis among diabetic patients at the Dessie referral hospital, Northeast Ethiopia

Hiwot Amare1*, Aschalew Gelaw2, Belay Anagaw2 and Baye Gelaw2

Author Affiliations

1 Bahir Dar Regional Health Research Laboratory Center, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

2 Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

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Infectious Diseases of Poverty 2013, 2:6  doi:10.1186/2049-9957-2-6

Published: 27 March 2013



Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease which is still a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. People with diabetes mellitus (DM) have a three times higher risk of developing active TB than people without diabetes. However, there is not enough credible information on the burden of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) among DM patients in Ethiopia, in general, and in the city of Dessie, in particular. Therefore, this study aims to determine the prevalence and associated risk factors of smear positive PTB among diabetic patients at a referral hospital in Dessie.


A cross-sectional study was conducted from February 2012 to April 2012. Patient demographic characteristics were collected using a pre-tested standard questionnaire format. Spot-morning-spot sputum specimens were collected from the study participants and examined for acid-fast bacilli using direct microscopy by the Ziehl-Neelsen staining technique. Data was entered and analyzed using the SPSS version 16 statistical software and p-value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.


Out of 225 TB suspected diabetic patients, 52% were males and 48% were females. Their ages ranged from 12 to 82 years, with a mean age of 47.2 years. Urban residence (AOR: 5.5; 95% CI: 1.07–28.20), history of TB (AOR: 13.4; 95% CI: 2.74–65.73), contact with TB patients in the family (AOR: 9.4; 95% CI: 1.822–48.50), and long duration of DM (AOR: 8.89; 95% CI: 1.88–58.12) were independently associated with the development of active TB in people living with DM.


The prevalence of smear positive PTB was 6.2% in TB suspected diabetic patients, which is higher compared with the general population (0.39%). Patients with a previous history of contact with TB patients, as well as those who had prolonged diabetes, were more prone to have PTB. Therefore, screening of diabetic patients for PTB infection during follow-up is necessary.

Dessie; Diabetic patients; Ethiopia; Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB)