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Free Content Programmatic impact of using QuantiFERON® -TB Gold in routine contact investigation activities

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OBJECTIVES: To retrospectively assess the proportion of contacts tested with QuantiFERON ® -TB Gold (QFT-G) compared to the tuberculin skin test (TST) who were successfully evaluated and treated for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), and to assess the correlation of positive test results with measures of TB exposure.

METHODS: Contacts of culture-confirmed pulmonary TB cases reported to the San Francisco Department of Public Health between 1 March 2005 and 31 December 2007 were included.

RESULTS: Of 1291 contacts meeting the eligibility criteria, 641 (50%) were tested with QFT-G and 650 (50%) with TST. Contacts tested with QFT-G were more likely to complete evaluation (64% vs. 56%, ORadj = 1.52, 95%CI 1.12–2.06). Infected contacts started (89% vs. 72%, ORadj = 5.18, 95%CI 2.10–14.18) and completed (70% vs. 53%, ORadj = 3.37, 95%CI 1.78–6.56) LTBI treatment more often in the group tested with QFT-G. Positive QFT-G results, but not positive TST results, correlated with the intensity, proximity and duration of TB exposure in foreign-born subjects.

CONCLUSION: More contacts were successfully evaluated and treated for LTBI when screened with QFT-G compared to TST. Measures of exposure correlated better with QFT-G-positive results and, therefore, appropriately identified high-risk contacts for TB prevention.
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Keywords: CONTACT TRACING; LATENT TUBERCULOSIS INFECTION; QUANTIFERON®-TB GOLD; TUBERCULIN SKIN TEST; TUBERCULOSIS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Tuberculosis Control Section, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, California, USA 2: Tuberculosis Control Section, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, California; Division of TB Elimination, Field Services Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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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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