Use of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test for screening tuberculosis contacts and predicting active disease

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2010 Jul;14(7):819-27.


Objective: To evaluate the performance of the QuantiFERON(R)-TB Gold (QFT-G) test for screening tuberculosis (TB) contacts and estimating their risk of progressing to active TB disease.

Methods: Data on clinical progression to active disease were collected from public health centres 2 years after close contacts of TB cases had been QFT-G-tested.

Results: Among 3102 contacts observed, 419 were QFT-G-positive, and isoniazid (INH) treatment was initiated in 323. Twenty (4.8%) of these 419 developed TB disease. Among 2683 QFT-G-negative persons, 19 were diagnosed with TB (0.7%) during the average follow-up period of 1.6 years. The estimated sensitivity of QFT-G in detecting contacts who would progress to active TB was 51%, or 64% allowing for the effects of INH treatment. Among the QFT-G-negative contacts, all those who developed TB disease were contacts of highly infectious cases. Large-scale tuberculin skin testing was not available.

Conclusions: TB incidence among QFT-G-positive contacts was higher than among QFT-G-negative contacts, but the number of TB cases among QFT-G-negative contacts is non-negligible, especially among contacts of highly infectious cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contact Tracing
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tuberculin Test / methods
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / physiopathology
  • Young Adult


  • Interferon-gamma