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Epidemiol Infect. 2008 Sep;136(9):1179-87. Epub 2007 Nov 8.

Performance of an interferon-gamma release assay for diagnosing latent tuberculosis infection in children.

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Japan International Cooperation Agency/National Tuberculosis Control Project, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Newly developed interferon-gamma release assays have become commercially available to detect tuberculosis (TB) infection in adults. However, little is known about their performance in children. We compared test results between the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test (QFT) and tuberculin skin test (TST) in young children living with pulmonary TB patients in Cambodia. Of 195 children tested with both QFT and TST, the TST-positive rate of 24% was significantly higher than the QFT-positive rate of 17%. The agreement between the test results was considerable (kappa-coefficient 0.63). Positive rates increased from 6% to 32% for QFT and from 15% to 43% for TST, according to the sputum smear grades of the index cases. The presence of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) scars did not significantly affect the results of TST or QFT in a logistic regression analysis. In conclusion, QFT can be a substitute for TST in detecting latent TB infection in childhood contacts aged <or= 5 years, especially in those who may have a false-positive TST due to BCG vaccination or non-tuberculous mycobacterial infection.

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