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Free Content Latent tuberculosis infection among close contacts of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis patients in central Taiwan

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SETTING: Both the tuberculin skin test (TST) and the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT-GIT) may be used to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. A positive reaction to either test can indicate latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). These tests can be used to study the rate of infection in contacts of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patients.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the transmission status of MDR-TB patients in Taiwan by examining their close contacts and to compare the efficiency of TST and QFT-GIT.

DESIGN: Chest radiographs, TST and QFT-GIT were performed in household contacts of confirmed MDR-TB patients to determine their infection status.

RESULTS: A total of 78 close contacts of confirmed MDR-TB patients were included in the study. The majority of the MDR-TB patients were parents of the close contacts and lived in the same building; 46% of the subjects were TST-positive and 19% were QFT-GIT-positive, indicating LTBI that was likely to develop into active MDR-TB. There was a lack of consistency between TST and QFT-GIT results in subjects with previous bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination.

CONCLUSION: Household contacts of MDR-TB patients are likely to develop LTBI; thus, follow-up and monitoring are mandatory to provide treatment and reduce the occurrence of active infection.
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Keywords: QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube; latent tuberculosis; multidrug-resistant; tuberculin skin test

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Tuberculosis, Changhua Hospital, Taiwan Department of Health, Changhua City, Taiwan 2: Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan 3: Department of Internal Medicine, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, and Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan 4: Department of Tuberculosis, Taichung Hospital, Taiwan Department of Health, Taichung, Taiwan

Publication date: 2010-11-01

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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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