Setting: An inner city neighborhood in Houston, Texas, known for a high rate of drug use.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) using the QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT-G) test, the TSPOT.TB test and the tuberculin skin test (TST) in drug users and to evaluate the performance of the QFT-G and TSPOT.TB tests vs. the TST.
Design: Cross-sectional study. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine risks associated with each test outcome.
Results: The prevalence of LTBI in 119 drug users studied was 28% by TST and 34% by QFT-G and T-SPOT.TB. Kappa statistics indicated fair to moderate concordance between QFT-G and TSPOT.TB vs. TST. About one-fifth of the population that tested negative with TST was positive with either QFT-G or T-SPOT.TB. On multivariate analysis, the likelihood of testing QFT-positive or T-SPOT.TB-positive increased by 8% and 6%, respectively, for every year of age; TST positivity was associated with smoking crack at home; being Caucasian or having a history of alcohol use was positively associated with a positive T-SPOT.TB test.
Conclusion: Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) are superior to the TST in drug users with a higher prevalence of LTBI. Future studies need to assess the predictive value of IGRAs on the progression from LTBI to active TB in high-risk populations.