Diagnosis and Risk Factors of Latent Tuberculosis Infection among Healthcare Workers Using Whole Blood Human Interferon-gamma Release Assay and Tuberculin Skin Testing

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A. N. Umo
O. J. Akinjogunla
N. O. Umoh
G. E. Uzono


This study established the diagnosis and risk factors of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among health-care workers in an endemic population using Tuberculin skin test (TST) and Quantiferon TB-gold. A total of 609 Healthcare workers from tuberculosis treatment facilities in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria were studied. The Interferon-gamma release assay was performed using 3ml of whole blood by ELISA according to the manufacturer’s instruction (Cellestis Ltd., Carnegie, Australia) after which 0.1 ml of 5 tuberculin units of Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) was administered intra-dermally to each subject. TST results were read after 72 hours by measuring the size of indurations in millimetres. Data were analysed using SPSS version 17 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois). At the threshold of 10 mm, the prevalence of LTBI by TST was 45.8% and 24.8% at the IGRA diagnostic value of ≥ 0.351 IU. Laboratory staff and ward orderlies as well as being in service for >10 years, were more significantly associated with LTBI. A moderate agreement of 76.7%, k = 0.51 was obtained between TST at 10 mm, and QFT. Neither previous exposure to TST nor BCG vaccination affected the prevalence of LTBI in the study population. The difference of 54% prevalence of LTBI between TST and QFT may be due to non-tuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) since TST is non-specific. This may have grave implications of drug toxicity and development of resistance to anti-TB drug among individuals harbouring NTM, but receiving anti-TB medication. The 76.7% agreement between the two tests is an indication that the 10 mm cut-off induration for TST is still relevant in the diagnosis of LTBI.

Diagnosis, latent TB infection, QuantiFERON TB gold, Akwa Ibom State.

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How to Cite
Umo, A. N., Akinjogunla, O. J., Umoh, N. O., & Uzono, G. E. (2020). Diagnosis and Risk Factors of Latent Tuberculosis Infection among Healthcare Workers Using Whole Blood Human Interferon-gamma Release Assay and Tuberculin Skin Testing. Asian Journal of Research in Infectious Diseases, 3(3), 15-21. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajrid/2020/v3i330127
Original Research Article


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