Detection of Circulating Antibodies to Purified Protein Derivative by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay: Its Potential for the Rapid Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1989 Nov;8(11):763-7. doi: 10.1097/00006454-198911000-00007.


An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detecting antibodies to purified protein derivative was evaluated as a rapid method for serodiagnosis of childhood tuberculosis. Its specificity for IgG antibodies was 0.98 as determined in 55 sera from nontuberculous children who showed no significant effect of previous Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination on the production of specific antibodies. Results were negative in 29 of 33 (87.9%) tuberculin-positive children and in 18 of 20 (90.0%) contacts, none of whom had evidence of tuberculosis. The sensitivity of this test was 0.51 as determined in 49 sera from bacteriologically confirmed cases; 17 of 27 smear positive cases and 8 of 22 children with positive cultures were detected. Results were positive in 32 of 114 (28.1%) patients with a diagnosis of tuberculosis not confirmed by microbiology. Consequently whereas a negative result does not rule out tuberculosis, a positive result is a strong indication of the disease. The IgM antibody determination yielded much less discriminative results.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Infant
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tuberculin / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Tuberculin