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Free Content Cost-effectiveness of QuantiFERON®-TB test vs. tuberculin skin test in the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the tuberculin skin test (TST), the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test (QFT) and a combination of TST and QFT (TST+QFT) for diagnosing latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in France in a bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinated population.

METHODS: A decision analysis model evaluated three strategies among simulated adults in close contact with tuberculosis (TB). We calculated direct lifetime medical costs, life expectancies and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).

RESULTS: The discounted direct medical costs of care per patient of no testing, TST, QFT and TST+QFT were respectively €417, €476, €443 and €435, while discounted life expectancies were respectively 25.030, 25.071, 25.073 and 25.062 years. TST had higher costs and lower efficacy than QFT; TST+QFT was associated with an ICER of €560 per year of life gained (YLG) compared to no testing, and QFT was associated with an ICER of €730/YLG compared to TST+QFT. The only scenario where QFT was associated with an ICER of >€75 000/YLG was when the prevalence of LTBI around TB was low (<5%) and TST specificity high (>90%).

CONCLUSIONS: In France, for the diagnosis of LTBI after close contact with TB, the TST is more expensive and less effective than QFT. Although it is more expensive, QFT is more effective and cost-effective than TST+QFT under a wide range of realistic test performance scenarios.

Keywords: LTBI; QuantiFERON®-TB test; contact investigation; cost-effectiveness analysis; tuberculosis disease

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U795, Faculté de Médecine, Lille, France; INSERM EA2694, Faculté de Médecine, Lille, France 2: Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité Mixte de Recherche en Santé 707, Paris, France 3: Service Universitaire des Maladies Infectieuses et du Voyageur, Centre Hospitalier de Tourcoing, Tourcoing, France 4: Groupe d'Etude sur le Risque d'Exposition au Sang, Unité de Formation et de Recherche Médical, Hôpital Bichat, Paris, France; and Service d'Infectiologie, Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Paris, France

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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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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