Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at greater risk of contracting severe bacterial infections, according to a dissertation published at Lund University in Sweden.

A series of studies conducted by university doctors revealed an increased risk for COPD patients contracting tuberculosis, bacteremia and pneumococcal diseases, according to Malin Inghammar, MD, the paper’s lead author.

In one study, COPD patients were found to be three times more at risk of contracting active tuberculosis than the general population.

Another study concluded that COPD patients were 2.5 times as likely to contract bacteremia, an infection that occurs when bacteria enter the patient’s bloodstream.

A third study found that patients with chronic pulmonary diseases are more at risk of contracting an invasive pneumococcal disease, a bacteria associated with bacterial pneumonia, meningitis and other infectious diseases.

The paper recommended increased awareness for COPD patients of the risks of infection, which could reduce morbidity and mortality, according to the authors.

The full dissertation is available on the Lund University website.