Positive Bacteriological Analyses in Individuals With Diabetes Mellitus: Preliminary Results From a Forensic Study

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Abstract

Increased infection susceptibility in the diabetic population is a controversial issue in the clinical field. The greater frequency of infections in diabetic patients has been speculated as caused by the hyperglycemic environment that favors immune dysfunction. The aim of this study was to investigate the proportion of positive bacterial cultures in a series of diabetic individuals who underwent forensic investigations and assess the frequency of hyperglycemia at the time of death in these cases as well as the percentage of diabetics with cause of death due to bacterial infection. Forensic autopsy cases characterized by positive bacterial cultures and pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes mellitus were included in the study. Initial findings revealed that 12% (7/58 cases) of positive bacterial cultures concerned individuals with a pre-existing diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Bacterial infection was considered to be the cause of death in 22% (7/31 cases) of diabetics with positive bacterial cultures. Hyperglycemia could be identified in 1 case only at the time of death. These preliminary results highlight the usefulness of systematically performing postmortem bacteriology in the forensic setting to more precisely characterize infectious risk factors in diabetics.

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