Evaluation of the T-SPOT(RTM).TB test in the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected children in Uganda

Betty Kintu Nsangi, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. About a third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis (TB) with sub-Saharan Africa being the worst hit. Uganda is ranked 16th among the countries with the biggest TB burden. The burden in children however has not been determined. The burden of TB has been worsened by the advent of HIV and TB is the leading cause of mortality in HIV infected individuals. Development of TB disease can be prevented if TB is diagnosed during its latent stage and treated with isoniazid. For over a century, latent TB infection (LTBI) was diagnosed using the Tuberculin Skin Test (TST). New interferon gamma release assays (IGRA) have been approved by FDA for the diagnosis of LTBI and adult studies have shown that IGRAs are superior to the TST but there have been few studies in children especially in areas of high TB and HIV endemicity. ^ Objective. The objective of this study was to examine whether the IGRAs had a role in LTBI diagnosis in HIV infected children in Uganda. ^ Methods. Three hundred and eighty one (381) children were recruited at the Baylor College of Medicine-Bristol Meyers Squibb Children’s Clinical Center of Excellence at Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda between March and August 2010. All the children were subjected to a TST and T-SPOT ®.TB test which was the IGRA chosen for this study. Sputum examination and chest x-rays were also done to rule out active TB. ^ Results. There was no statistically significant difference between the tests. The agreement between the two assays was 95.9% and the kappa statistic was 0.7 (95% CI: 0.55–0.85, p-value<0.05) indicating a substantial or good agreement. The TST was associated with older age and higher weight for age z-scores but the T-SPOT®. TB was not. Both tests were associated with history of taking anti-retroviral therapy (ART). ^ Conclusion. Before promoting use of IGRAs in children living in HIV/TB endemic countries, more research needs to be done. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Nsangi, Betty Kintu, "Evaluation of the T-SPOT(RTM).TB test in the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected children in Uganda" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3433905.