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Prevalence of Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Low-Risk Children Using Tuberculin Skin Test: A Study in Shiraz

Author(s): H Masoumi Asl | A Alborzi | B Pourabbas

Journal: Tehran University Medical Journal
ISSN 1683-1764

Volume: 70;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 423;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Children | Latent Tuberculosis Infection | Low Risk Group | Tuberculin Test

Background: Tuberculin skin test (TST) is a readily available test for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). This study was designed to evaluate LTBI in low-risk children aged 1-15 years.Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed in Shiraz, Iran, over six months during 2009. Totally, 1289 boys and girls were selected by stratified multistage random sampling from four municipality areas before allocating them to 15 groups. Inclusion criteria included age 1-15 years, documented history of BCG vaccination at birth, Iranian nationality and a healthy state of being. Children with acute febrile diseases, immunosuppression, on medication and immigrants were excluded. We considered a TST ≥ 10 mm of induration as positive.Results: The prevalence of LTBI in 1-15 years old children was 4.5%. The percentage was 3.5% in 1-5 year old, 4.1% in 6-10 year old and 5.7% in 11-15 year old children. The highest rate of infection was 9.8% in 15 year olds and the lowest was 2.2% in 3-year old children. Gender had no effect on LTBI rate. There is no significant difference of LTBI prevalence between four municipality areas.Conclusion: The prevalence of LTBI in this study was lower in comparison with other studies performed in Iran. Positive predictive value of TST decreases in low endemic areas for tuberculosis, especially in low-risk groups; therefore, most positive results are false-positive created by nonspecific reactions and infection with environmental mycobacteria. Hence, there is a need for new diagnostic tools that are easy and cost-effective.
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