Background: Although tuberculosis (TB) is a minor problem in Denmark, severe and complicated cases occur in HIV positive. Since the new M. tuberculosis specific test for latent TB, the QuantiFERON-TB In-Tube test (QFT-IT) became available the patients in our clinic have been screened for the presence of latent TB using the QFT-IT test. We here report the results from the first patients screened.
Methods: On a routine basis the QFT-IT test was performed and the results from 590 HIV positive individuals consecutively tested are presented here. CD4 cell count and TB risk-factors were recorded from patient files.
Main findings: 27/590(4.6%) of the individuals were QFT-IT test positive, indicating the presence of latent TB infection. Among QFT-IT positive patients, 78% had risk factors such as long-term residency in a TB high endemic area (OR:5.7), known TB exposure (OR:4.9) or previous TB disease (OR:4.9). The prevalence of latent TB in these groups were 13%, 16% and 19% respectively. There was a strong correlation between low CD4 T-cell count and a low mitogen response (P < 0.001;Spearman) and more patients with low CD4 cell count had indeterminate results.
Conclusion: We found an overall prevalence of latent TB infection of 4.6% among the HIV positive individuals and a much higher prevalence of latent infection among those with a history of exposure (16%) and long term residency in a high endemic country (13%). The QFT-IT test may indeed be a useful test for HIV positive individuals, but in severely immunocompromised, the test may be impaired by T-cell anergy.