Using IFN-gamma release assay to confirm tuberculin skin test improves the screening of latent tuberculosis infection in Italian healthcare workers
SETTING Health care workers and medical students in the United States subject to annual tuberculin skin testing. OBJECTIVE To use skin testing with Mycobacterium avium sensitin (MAS) to determine contemporary rates of infection with non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) and their effect on reactions to M. tuberculosis purified protein derivative (PPD). DESIGN Dual skin testing was performed with PPD and MAS on 784 health care workers and medical students in the northern and southern US. MAS reactions that were > or = 5 mm and also > or = 3 mm larger than the PPD reaction were defined as MAS dominant and due to NTM. RESULTS MAS reactions were > or = 5 mm in 40% and > or = 15 mm in 18% of subjects; 95% were MAS dominant. MAS dominant reactions were more common in the south than the north (P < 0.001). PPD reactions were > or = 15 mm in 3% of subjects. PPD reactions > or = 15 mm were more common among males, foreign born subjects and subjects with BCG immunization (all P < 0.001). MAS dominant reactions were found in 82% of subjects with 5-9 mm PPD reactions and 50% with 10-14 mm PPD reactions; these reactions were more common among whites (P = 0.046), US-born (P = 0.038) and subjects without BCG immunization (P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS Infections with NTM are responsible for the majority of 5-14 mm PPD reactions among US-born health care workers and medical students subject to annual tuberculin testing.