Healthcare workers are at 2- to 5-fold increased risk of developing latent TB infection compared with the general population. Even employees with brief patient contact and members of staff without patient care responsibilities may be exposed to TB through droplets from a person with TB disease. Transmission of TB bacteria in healthcare settings to and between patients and healthcare workers has been reported in virtually every country of the world, regardless of how much TB exists in the local community.
QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT®) is a blood test that can help diagnose TB infection. QFT is a major scientific advance over the 100-year-old skin test (Mantoux or tuberculin skin test [TST]), giving greater accuracy and cost-effectiveness, and a more reliable result in a single visit.
In what situations should QFT be used?
QFT can be used in all situations in which the skin test has been used in the past. QFT can also be used to confirm a positive skin test result. Benefits include:
QFT is simple and only involves collection of a blood sample, which is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
QFT is one of many possible tools used to determine whether TB infection is present. In addition to a QFT result, essential information such as medical history, risk of exposure to TB, and other clinical results should be taken into account. In most circumstances, however:
No, there are no risks associated with the having the test apart from the slight discomfort of having a blood sample taken.
Focus on Healthcare workers:
"Highlights from the 3rd Global Symposium on IGRAs: A moderated discussion with Tuberculosis Experts", a University of California, San Diego CME activity.
Request e-prints of:
Pareek et al. Thorax 2012
Eralp et al. BMJ Open 2012
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