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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36551. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036551. Epub 2012 May 7.

Programmatic impact of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube implementation on latent tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment in a public health clinic.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) is considered an alternative to the tuberculin skin test (TST) for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) infection, but the programmatic impact of QFT-GIT implementation is largely unknown. In March, 2010, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) introduced routine QFT-GIT testing for individuals referred to the TB program for suspected latent TB infection (LTBI).


Retrospective study comparing LTBI diagnosis and treatment during the 13 months before and after QFT-GIT implementation at the BCHD TB clinic.


607 and 750 individuals were referred by community-providers for suspected LTBI in the pre- and post-QFT-GIT periods, respectively. Most individuals in the pre- and post-QFT-GIT periods were referred on the basis of a positive TST (597/607 [98%] vs. 690/750 [92%], respectively) and were foreign-born (363/607[59%] vs. 507/750[68%], respectively). BCHD performed QFT-GIT testing for 375/543 (69%) eligible individuals in the post-QFT-GIT period, of which 185 (49%) were positive, 178 (47%) were negative, 1 (0.25%) was indeterminate, and 11 (3%) did not yield results. Concordance of QFT-GIT with TST was low (183/352[52%]). Foreign-born individuals had higher proportions of QFT-GIT positivity (57%) than US-born individuals (36%; AOR 3.3 [95%CI 1.7-6.2]). Significantly fewer individuals received a final diagnosis of LTBI in the post-QFT-GIT period (397/567 [70%]) compared to the pre-QFT-GIT period (445/452 [98%], p<0.001). In the post-QFT-GIT period, only 230/399 (58%) of those receiving QFT-GIT testing had a final diagnosis of LTBI, while 167/168 (99%) of those without QFT-GIT testing were diagnosed with LTBI (p<0.001). There was no difference in treatment initiation between those with and without QFT-GIT testing (175/230 [76%]) vs. 133/167 [80%], respectively) in the post-QFT-GIT period.


QFT-GIT implementation for LTBI evaluation in a public health clinic significantly reduced the proportion of referred individuals in whom LTBI was diagnosed. QFT-GIT testing had no impact on treatment initiation or completion among those diagnosed with LTBI.

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