Tuberculosis Screening by Tuberculosis Skin Test or QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube Assay among an Immigrant Population with a High Prevalence of Tuberculosis and BCG Vaccination

Abstract

Rationale Each year 1 million persons acquire permanent U.S. residency visas after tuberculosis (TB) screening. Most applicants undergo a 2-stage screening with tuberculin skin test (TST) followed by CXR only if TST-positive at > 5 mm. Due to cross reaction with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), TST may yield false positive results in BCG-vaccinated persons. Interferon gamma release assays exclude antigens found in BCG. In Vietnam, like most high TB-prevalence countries, there is universal BCG vaccination at birth.

Objectives 1. Compare the sensitivity of QuantiFERON ®-TB Gold In-Tube Assay (QFT) and TST for culture-positive pulmonary TB. 2. Compare the age-specific and overall prevalence of positive TST and QFT among applicants with normal and abnormal CXR.

Methods We obtained TST and QFT results on 996 applicants with abnormal CXR, of whom 132 had TB, and 479 with normal CXR.

Results The sensitivity for tuberculosis was 86.4% for QFT; 89.4%, 81.1%, and 52.3% for TST at 5, 10, and 15 mm. The estimated prevalence of positive results at age 15–19 years was 22% and 42% for QFT and TST at 10 mm, respectively. The prevalence increased thereafter by 0.7% year of age for TST and 2.1% for QFT, the latter being more consistent with the increase in TB among applicants.

Conclusions During 2-stage screening, QFT is as sensitive as TST in detecting TB with fewer requiring CXR and being diagnosed with LTBI. These data support the use of QFT over TST in this population.

Citation

Painter, J.A.; Graviss, E.A.; Hoang Hoa Hai; Duong Thi Cam Nhung; Tran Thi Thanh Nga; Ha, N.P.; Wall, K.; Le Thien Huong Loan; Parker, M.; Managan, L.; O’Brian, R.; Maloney, S.A.; Hoekstra, R.M.; Reves, R. Tuberculosis Screening by Tuberculosis Skin Test or QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube Assay among an Immigrant Population with a High Prevalence of Tuberculosis and BCG Vaccination. PLoS ONE (2013) 8 (12) e82727. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082727]

Tuberculosis Screening by Tuberculosis Skin Test or QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube Assay among an Immigrant Population with a High Prevalence of Tuberculosis and BCG Vaccination

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