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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 241-245

Validation and clinical application of interferon-gamma release assay for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection in children

1 Department of Microbiology, Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases, Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Paediatrics, Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. S Sangeetha
Department of Microbiology, Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Kambipura, Bengaluru - 560 074, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijabmr.IJABMR_86_19

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Background: India has the highest tuberculosis (TB) burden, accounting for one-fifth of the global incidence and two-third of the cases in Southeast Asia with an estimated 1.9 million new cases every year. Identifying and treating latent TB infection (LTBI) can reduce the risk of development of active disease by up to 90%, thereby decreasing a major burden to the prevalence of the disease, and thus reducing potential sources in future. Aim: Early diagnosis of LTBI by tuberculin skin test (TST) and a newer interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). Materials and Methods: Seventy-seven clinically asymptomatic household contacts (≤18 years) of confirmed pulmonary TB patients were enrolled to compare the performance of TST and IGRA to diagnose LTBI. At baseline, all participants underwent testing for IGRA and TST. Results: TST showed positivity of 22%, while IGRA demonstrated positivity of 40% in the diagnosis of latent TB. Kappa value at 95% confidence interval was 0.4753, indicates a moderate agreement between the two tests. This indicates that IGRA is a better predictor of latent TB. Maximum positive percentage was in the age group of 16–18 years in both the tests followed by 1–5 years. Conclusion: IGRA is a better predictor or diagnostic marker of LTBI. Although TST remains the preferred method of testing LTBI, IGRAs like ETB-Feron; a more efficient diagnostic test can be preferred based on patient affordability, logistics, and individual preferences.

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