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Free Content Low cost in-house PCR for the routine diagnosis of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis

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SETTING: Conventional methods for the identification of mycobacteria are slow and labour intensive. DNA amplification methods offer rapid sensitive and specific diagnosis.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the feasibility of an in-house polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis in clinical samples.

DESIGN: The present study focused mainly on diagnosing extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) using an in-house PCR method in 465 clinical samples. This study also compared the efficacy of a standard phenol-chloroform (PC) extraction procedure and the guanidine thiocyanate with diatomaceous silica (GTCS) method of DNA extraction and purification. A subsample of patients was used for the validation of results based on the final diagnosis.

RESULTS: Among 373 patients with suspected EPTB, 75 specimens were positive by PCR, four by microscopy and six by culture. Of the 25 PCR-positive patients, 95% had a final diagnosis of TB. Globally, the GTCS method was found to be superior to the PC method for DNA extraction and removal of inhibitors from clinical specimens.

CONCLUSION: The DNA amplification method was found to be significantly more sensitive and rapid compared to culture and microscopy for a reliable final diagnosis of EPTB.
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Keywords: DNA extraction; diagnosis; extra-pulmonary tuberculosis; polymerase chain reaction

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka 2: Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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