Author(s): Mancuso JD, Mazurek GH, Tribble D, Olsen C, Aronson NE,
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Abstract RATIONALE: There is uncertainty regarding how to interpret discordance between tests for latent tuberculosis infection. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to assess discordance between commercially available tests for latent tuberculosis in a low-prevalence population, including the impact of nontuberculous mycobacteria. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional comparison study among 2,017 military recruits at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, from April to June 2009. Several tests were performed simultaneously with a risk factor questionnaire, including (1) QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test, (2) T-SPOT.TB test, (3) tuberculin skin test, and (4) Battey skin test using purified protein derivative from the Battey bacillus. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: In this low-prevalence population, the specificities of the three commercially available diagnostic tests were not significantly different. Of the 88 subjects with a positive test, only 10 (11.4\%) were positive to all three tests; 20 (22.7\%) were positive to at least two tests. Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination, tuberculosis prevalence in country of birth, and Battey skin test reaction size were associated with tuberculin skin test-positive, IFN-γ release assay-negative test discordance. Increasing agreement between the three tests was associated with epidemiologic criteria indicating risk of infection and with quantitative test results. CONCLUSIONS: For most positive results the three tests identified different people, suggesting that in low-prevalence populations most discordant results are caused by false-positives. False-positive tuberculin skin test reactions associated with reactivity to nontuberculous mycobacteria and bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination may account for a proportion of test discordance observed.
This article was published in Am J Respir Crit Care Med
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals