Comorbidities in Pulmonary Tuberculosis Cases in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, India: Opportunities for Intervention

Citation: Hochberg NS, Sarkar S, Horsburgh CR Jr, Knudsen S, Pleskunas J, Sahu S, et al. (2017) Comorbidities in pulmonary tuberculosis cases in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, India: Opportunities for intervention. PLoS ONE12(8): e0183195.
Published: August 23, 2017

Background: We aimed to define characteristics of TB patients in Puducherry and two districts of Tamil Nadu, India and calculate the population attributable fractions (PAF) of TB from malnutrition and alcohol.
Methods: New smear-positive TB cases were enrolled into the Regional Prospective Observational Research for Tuberculosis (RePORT India) cohort. Census and National Family Health Survey data were used for comparisons.
Results: Data were analyzed for 409 participants enrolled between May 2014-June 2016; 307 (75.1%) were male, 60.2% were malnourished (body mass index [BMI] <18.5 kg/m2), and 29.1% severely malnourished (BMI <16). “Hazardous” alcohol use (based on AUDIT-C score) was reported by 155/305 (50.8%) of males. Tuberculosis cases were more likely than the Puducherry population to be malnourished (62.6% v 10.2% males and 71.7% v 11.3% of females; both p<0.001), and male cases were more likely to use alcohol than male non-cases (84.4% v 41%; p < .001). The PAF of malnutrition was 57.4% in males and 61.5% in females; the PAF for alcohol use was 73.8% in males and 1.7% in females.
Conclusions: Alcohol use in men and malnutrition are helping drive the TB epidemic in Southern India. Reducing the TB burden in this population will require efforts to mitigate these risk factors.


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