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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2014 Sep;33(9):e226-31. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000000353.

Performance of interferon-γ release assay for the diagnosis of active or latent tuberculosis in children in the first 2 years of age: a multicenter study of the Italian Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Author information

1
From the *Department of Pediatrics, University of Turin, AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza, Regina Margherita Children's Hospital, Turin; †Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Anna Meyer Children's University Hospital, Florence; ‡Department of Pediatrics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena; §Department of Pediatrics, University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi General Hospital, Bologna; ¶Unit of Microbiology, Department DIMES, University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi General Hospital, Bologna; ‖Pietro Barilla Children's Hospital, Parma; **Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCCS, Rome; and ††Pediatric Clinic 1, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The diagnosis of latent or active tuberculosis in children is often challenging. Recently, interferon-γ release assays have been licensed, but their diagnostic accuracy in young children remains questionable as frequent false-negative or indeterminate results have been reported.

METHODS:

We performed a multicenter, retrospective study in children 0-24 months of age who were tested at least once with QuantiFERON-TB Gold-in-tube (QTF-IT) ± tuberculin skin test (TST), to analyze its use and performance in clinical practice.

RESULTS:

Eight-hundred and twenty-three children (449 males, median age 13.5 months) were enrolled. QTF-IT sensitivity and specificity for active tuberculosis were 92.4% and 98.6%, respectively. Indeterminate tests (4.2 %) were not related to age (P = 0.838) or gender (P = 0.223); 32 children (91.4 %) with an indeterminate QTF-IT ultimately resulted uninfected. In the 616 subjects with valid paired results of QTF-IT and TST, sensitivity and specificity were comparable (91.1% vs. 85.1% and 98.1% vs. 97.9%, respectively). Diagnostic concordance between tests was higher in Bacillus Calmétte-Guerin nonvaccinated children (κ = 0.802). A high rate of discordant tests was observed in latent infections.

CONCLUSIONS:

QTF-IT showed good sensitivity and specificity, and a low rate of indeterminate results in the first 2 years of life, supporting its use at this age. However, considering costs and the similar performance between QTF-IT and TST, it is reasonable to suggest the latter as first-line testing in young children. The complementary use of TST and interferon-γ release assays may be considered in selected cases to improve the accuracy of testing.

PMID:
25361032
DOI:
10.1097/INF.0000000000000353
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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