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Case-Control study of Firefighters with documented positive tuberculin skin test results using Quantiferon-TB testing in comparison with Firefighters with negative tuberculin skin test results

Author(s): Fleming James | England Timothy | Wernick Howard | Reinhart Steven | Dominguez John | Kelley Patrick | Gorter Forrest | Papst Victor | LaDuke Alicia

Journal: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
ISSN 1745-6673

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 28;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background Phoenix Firefighters have had abnormally high rates of tuberculin skin test (TBST) results on medical surveillance. The objectives of this study were to evaluate our firefighters using QuantiFERON-TB (QFT), comparing the results to their TBST results. Methods Using QFT results obtained during the study, we compared previously positive TBST responders (Cases) to negative responders (Controls). We also compared both groups for QFT results for Mycobacterium avium (MA) exposure. Results QFT effectively monitored our working population. 12.9% of the 148 cases, and 3.2% of the 220 controls had a positive QFT result. Another 14.8% of cases and 4.5% of controls had conditionally positive QFT results. There was an unusually high rate of MA response on QFT testing in both groups. Conclusion Phoenix Firefighters have a higher than expected TBST and QFT results, which cannot be explained by the increased MA rate. The decreased level of QFT positivity in comparison to TBST results may indicate a considerable false positive TBST rate. The QFT offers many advantages as a surveillance method over TBST in exposed worker populations.
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