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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2007 Jun;14(6):714-9. Epub 2007 Apr 18.

Comparison of an ESAT-6/CFP-10 peptide-based enzyme-linked immunospot assay to a tuberculin skin test for screening of a population at moderate risk of contracting tuberculosis.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA.


Screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) with the Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST) has many limitations including false-positive results due to Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination. Three hundred ninety adult inmates with normal screening chest radiographs in a county jail were evaluated for LTBI using TST and an ESAT-6/CFP-10 peptide-based enzyme-linked immunospot assay (T-SPOT.TB). LTBI prevalence rates were 19.0% and 8.5% by T-SPOT.TB and TST, respectively. Overall agreement between test results was 82.8% (kappa = 0.29). Positive T-SPOT.TB results were significantly associated with increased age (odds ratio [OR], 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.06) and intravenous drug use history (OR, 2.92; 95% CI, 1.36 to 6.27). Positive TST results were significantly associated with increased age (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.09) and foreign birth (OR, 6.61; 95% CI, 1.98 to 22.01). Discordant covariates between the assay results included increased age (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94 to 0.99) and intravenous drug use history (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.88). T-SPOT.TB reactivity is unaffected by prior BCG vaccination. T-SPOT.TB may be more sensitive than TST in diagnosing LTBI among a moderate risk population of inmates, particularly those with intravenous drug use history. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess the positive predictive value of T-SPOT.TB in identifying those most likely to convert to active disease in general populations as well as in high-risk subpopulations.

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