JOURNAL ARTICLE

Diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection in healthy young adults in a country with high tuberculosis burden and BCG vaccination at birth

Alemnew F Dagnew, Jemal Hussein, Markos Abebe, Martha Zewdie, Adane Mihret, Ahmed Bedru, Menberework Chanyalew, Lawrence Yamuah, Girmay Medhin, Peter Bang, T Mark Doherty, Asrat Hailu, Abraham Aseffa
BMC Research Notes 2012, 5: 415
22870897

BACKGROUND: One third of the world's population is thought to have latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) with the potential for subsequent reactivation of disease. To better characterize this important population, studies comparing Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) and the new interferon-γ release assays including QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) have been conducted in different parts of the world, but most of these have been in countries with a low incidence of tuberculosis (TB). The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the use of QFT-GIT assay as compared with TST in the diagnosis of LTBI in Ethiopia, a country with a high burden of TB and routine BCG vaccination at birth.

METHODS: Healthy medical and paramedical male students at the Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia were enrolled into the study from December 2008 to February 2009. The TST and QFTG-IT assay were performed using standard methods.

RESULTS: The mean age of the study participants was 20.9 years. From a total of 107 study participants, 46.7% (95%CI: 37.0% to 56.6%) had a positive TST result (TST≥10 mm), 43.9% (95%CI: 34.3% to 53.9%) had a positive QFT-GIT assay result and 44.9% (95%CI: 35.2% to 54.8%) had BCG scar. There was strong agreement between TST (TST ≥10mm) and QFT-GIT assay (Kappa = 0.83, p value = 0.000).

CONCLUSION: The TST and QFT-GIT assay show similar efficacy for the diagnosis of LTBI in healthy young adults residing in Ethiopia, a country with high TB incidence.

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