Combined use of QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay and chest computed tomography in a tuberculosis outbreak

W J Lew, Y J Jung, J-W Song, Y M Jang, H-J Kim, Y-M Oh, S D Lee, W S Kim, D S Kim, W D Kim, T S Shim
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2009, 13 (5): 633-9

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the value of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT-G) assay and chest computed tomography (CT), in addition to the conventional use of the tuberculin skin test (TST) and chest radiography (CXR), in a contact investigation of a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak.

DESIGN: In a contact investigation of a TB outbreak in a high school, TST and CXR were performed on all 1044 employees and students. QFT-G was performed on TST-positive subjects, and CT on QFT-G-positive subjects and students with TST > or =20 mm.

RESULTS: TST was positive in 388 subjects (37.2%), while QFT-G was positive in 7.6% (30/394). CXR showed abnormal findings suggestive of TB in 10 (1.0%) subjects, all of whom were TST-positive and six of whom were QFT-G-positive. Findings suggestive of active TB were noted in 17 (32.7%) of 52 subjects by CT. Collectively, among 21 (1.1%) TB patients, all were TST-positive, 12 (57.1%) were QFT-G-positive and active TB was diagnosed by CT, and not by CXR, in 11 subjects.

CONCLUSION: Compared to the conventional approach, the additional use of QFT-G in TST-positive subjects and chest CT in subgroups with a high probability of infection was found to be more effective in the differentiation between active TB, latent TB and non-infected subjects in a contact investigation.

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