Evaluation of tuberculin skin testing in tuberculosis contacts in Victoria, Australia, 2005–2013
Methods: A retrospective review of data collected for public health surveillance was performed to identify contact demographic factors, including bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) status and age and outcomes of TST.
Results: Contact tracing was performed for 15 094 people, of whom 13 427 (89.0%) had a TST performed. The TST was positive in 31.4% (95%CI 30.6–32.2) of all contacts, and 48.8% of contacts born outside of Australia. Amongst contacts who were TST-negative at baseline, the conversion rate following exposure was 14.8%. Conversion was most common in those aged 45–54 years, with <12% positivity in both the youngest (<5 years) and oldest (65 years) age groups. Active TB developed in 1.1% of all contacts. Contacts aged <5 years had the highest risk of developing active TB following exposure (3.8%), while low risk was seen in those aged 65 years (0.3%).
Conclusion: Overall, contact tracing and TST in this setting appear to yield a high proportion of people at risk for the development of active TB. The yield of testing in some groups, particularly those aged 65 years, was low, and investigation of alternative strategies should be considered.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Victorian Tuberculosis Program, Melbourne Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2: Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance, Health Protection, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3: Victorian Tuberculosis Program, Melbourne Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Publication date: September 21, 2015
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