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J Korean Med Sci. 2008 Jun;23(3):402-5. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2008.23.3.402.

Boosted reaction on two-step tuberculin skin test among military personnel in South Korea, a setting with an intermediate burden of tuberculosis and routine bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccination.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Armed Forces Capital Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.


This study was performed to estimate the rate of boosted reaction in the two-step tuberculin skin test (TST) and to evaluate the associated factors among military personnel of South Korea, which has an intermediate burden of tuberculosis (TB) and a routine bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination policy. Two-step TST was performed on 264 military personnel who did not have a history of close contact to TB. Subjects with a negative reaction to the first test of <10 mm had a second TST applied 1 week later on the other forearm. A positive result (> or =10 mm) on the initial TST was observed in 126 (48%) of the subjects. A boosted reaction on the second TST developed in 32 (23%) of the 124 subjects with a negative initial TST. In multiple logistic regression analysis, the size of the initial TST reaction was the only factor associated with a boosted reaction on the second TST. The high rate of boosted reaction among healthy adults in South Korea suggests that two-step TST should be performed to assess the baseline TST reactivity in settings with an intermediate burden of TB and routine BCG vaccination policy, especially among subjects with an initial TST reaction that is > or =5 mm.

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