Background: QuantiFERON®-TB Gold in-Tube (QFT) assay is a recently developed test to assess latent tuberculosis infection in contagious tuberculosis (TB) contact subjects. To assess the QFT assay in recently exposed contacts of active tuberculosis patients in a French area with low TB incidence but high Bacille Calmette-Guerin coverage, and evaluate progression rates to TB disease.
Methodology/principal findings: Between January 2007 and December 2009, 687 contacts of culture-confirmed tuberculosis cases underwent the QFT assay, with tuberculin skin test (TST) in 473, and a 34 months mean follow-up. Of 687 contacts, 148 were QFT positive, while 526 were negative and 13 indeterminate. QFT was positive in 35% of individuals with TST ≥ 10 mm, 47.5% with TST ≥ 15 mm or phlyctenular, but in 21% of cases in which two-step TST (M0 and M3) remained negative. Conversely, QFT was negative in 69% of cases with two-step TST showing conversion from negative to positive. All indeterminate QFT were associated with TST induration <10 mm in diameter. For 29 QFT-positive subjects, no chemoprophylaxis was given due to medical contraindications. Of the remaining 119 QFT-positive contacts, 97 accepted chemoprophylaxis (81.5%), and 79 (81.4%) completed the treatment. Two contacts progressed to TB disease: one subject was QFT positive and had declined chemoprophylaxis, while the other one was QFT negative. QFT positive predictive value for progression to TB was 1.96% (1/51) with a 99.8% (525/526) negative predictive value.
Conclusions/significance: Our results confirm the safety of the QFT-based strategy for assessing the TB chemoprophylaxis indication, as only one contact developed TB disease out of 526 QFT-negative subjects.