Evaluation of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube and Tuberculin Skin Tests Among Immigrant Children Being Screened for Latent Tuberculosis Infection

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirements for pre-immigration tuberculosis (TB) screening of children 2- to 14-years old permit a tuberculin skin test (TST) or an interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). Few data are available on the performance of IGRAs versus TSTs in foreign-born children.


We compared the performance of TST and QuantiFERON-TB (QFT) Gold In-Tube in children 2- to 14-years old applying to immigrate to the United States from Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam, using diagnosis of TB in immigrating family members as a measure of potential exposure.


We enrolled 2520 children: 664 (26%) were TST+ and 142 (5.6%) were QFT+. One hundred and eleven (4.4%) were TST+/QFT+, 553 (21.9%) were TST+/QFT− and 31 (1.2%) were TST−/QFT+. Agreement between tests was poor (κ = 0.20). Although positive results of both tests were significantly associated with older age (relative risks [RR] TST+, 1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.36–1.97; RR QFT+, 3.05; 95% CI: 1.72–5.38) and with the presence of TB in at least 1 immigrating family member (RR TST+, 1.40; 95% CI: 1.12–1.75; RR QFT+ 2.24; 95% CI: 1.18–4.28), QFT+ results were more strongly associated with both predictive variables.


The findings support the preferential use of QFT over TST for pre-immigration screening of foreign-born children 2 years of age and older and lend support to the preferential use of IGRAs in testing foreign-born children for latent TB infection.

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