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Free Content Use of the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test to confirm latent tuberculosis infection in a Canadian tuberculosis clinic

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SETTING: Capital Health Tuberculosis (TB) Clinic, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT) results after implementation as a routine test for tuberculin skin test (TST) positive patients.

DESIGN: From November 2004 until January 2007, patients who were TST-positive and were eligible for preventive treatment based on Canadian guidelines, were offered a QFT.

RESULTS: Of 1446 TST-positive patients, only 566 (39.6%) were QFT-positive. Categorized by reason for TST testing, 43.1% of 304 contacts, 32.8% of 348 employment screens and 24.2% of 298 post secondary school screens were QFT-positive. In contrast, 59.7% of 290 immigration screens were QFT-positive. A multivariate analysis found that QFT positivity was associated with older age, larger TST size, high-incidence TB region of birth, history of TB and chest X-ray findings suggestive of previous TB.

CONCLUSION: Implementation of the QFT as a secondary test for latent TB infection (LTBI) can significantly reduce the number of patients given LTBI treatment in a low-incidence country such as Canada.
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Keywords: cost; diagnosis; interferon; tuberculin; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 2: Capital Health TB Clinics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 3: Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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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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