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Interferon-γ release assay for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in children
  1. Ana Méndez-Echevarría1,
  2. Miguel González-Muñoz2,
  3. Maria Jose Mellado3,
  4. Fernando Baquero-Artigao1,
  5. Daniel Blázquez4,
  6. María Penín5,
  7. Maria Luisa Navarro6,
  8. Jesús Saavedra-Lozano6,
  9. Maria Teresa Hernandez-Sampelayo6,
  10. Isabel González-Tomé7,
  11. Cristina Calvo8,
  12. Marta Ruiz9,
  13. Jose Tomás Ramos9,
  14. Sara Guillén9,
  15. Ramón Velazquez1,
  16. Beatriz Pérez10,
  17. Jorge Martínez10,
  18. Elia Pérez11,
  19. Spanish Collaborative Group for the Study of the QuantiFERON-TB GOLD Test in Children
  1. 1Paediatric Department, La Paz Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  2. 2Immunology Department, Carlos III Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  3. 3Paediatric Department, Carlos III Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  4. 4Paediatric Department, Clínico San Carlos Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  5. 5Paediatric Department, Príncipe de Asturias Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  6. 6Paediatric Department, Gregorio Marañón Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  7. 7Paediatric Department, 12 de Octubre Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  8. 8Paediatric Department, Severo Ochoa Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  9. 9Paediatric Department, Getafe Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  10. 10Paediatric Department, Del Niño Jesús Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  11. 11Biostatistics Department, La Paz Hospital, Madrid, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Ana Méndez-Echevarría, Paediatric Department, La Paz Hospital, Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046 Madrid, Spain; amendezes{at}


Aims To compare the QuantiFERON-TB GOLD In Tube test (QTF) and the tuberculin skin test (TST) in children.

Methods A prospective study was carried out in nine hospitals in Madrid, Spain. TST and QTF were performed in immigrants, tuberculosis (TB) contacts and patients with TB disease (TBD).

Results 459 children were included. Disagreement between the tests was more frequently observed among latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) cases (54%; 38/70) than in non-infected or TBD cases (0.8%; 3/369) (p<0.01). There were more BCG-vaccinated children among LTBI cases with negative QTF (76%) than among LTBI cases with positive QTF (40%) (p<0.001). Agreement between tests in BCG-vaccinated children was lower than in non-vaccinated cases (p<0.05). Tests in TB exposed patients showed better agreement than in non-exposed children (p<0.05).

Conclusions Agreement of both tests was excellent in TBD cases, non-vaccinated children and non-infected patients. A significant number of QTF negative results were observed among LTBI cases, especially in BCG-vaccinated children. Agreement was better in exposed children.

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  • Funding This study was funded from the 19th Dodot-Ausonia 2007 Grant for Paediatric Research awarded by the Spanish Paediatric Association.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee (Main Investigation Centre) of Carlos III Hospital. Subsequently it was approved by the other hospital ethics committees.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.