Safety

CDC approves blood test for TB

OSHA Healthcare Connection, December 30, 2005

New CDC guidelines approve the use of a TB blood test, QuantiFERON®-TB Gold (QFT-G), as an alternative to commonly-used purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin skin test (TST).

"The sensitivity of QFT-G was statistically similar to that of the TST for detecting infection in persons with untreated culture-confirmed tuberculosis," state Guidelines for Using the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Test for Detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection, United States, published December 16.

Healthcare facilities may now use QFT-G in all circumstances in which the TST is currently used, "including contact investigations, evaluation of recent immigrants, and sequential-testing surveillance programs for infection control (e.g., those for healthcare workers)," according to the CDC.

The document also provides specific cautions for interpreting negative QFT-G results in persons from selected populations.

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