The tuberculin skin test in school going adolescents in South India: associations of socio-demographic and clinical characteristics with TST positivity and non-response
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background. India has generally used 1 TU purified protein derivative (PPD) as opposed to 2 TU PPD globally, limiting comparisons. It is important to assess latent TB infection in adolescents given that they may be a target group for new post-exposure TB vaccines. The aim of this study is to describe the pattern and associations of tuberculin skin test (TST) responses (0.1 ml 2 TU) in adolescents in South India. Methods. 6643 school-going adolescents (11 to <18 years) underwent TST. Trained tuberculin reader made the reading visit between 48 and 96 hours after the skin test. Results. Of 6608 available TST results, 9% had 0 mm, and 12% ≥10 mm responses. The proportion of TST positive (≥10 mm) was higher among older children, boys, those with a history of TB contact and reported BCG immunization Those with no TST response (0 mm) included younger participants (<14 years), those whose mothers were illiterate and those with a recent history of weight loss. Those of a higher socio-economic status (houses with brick walls, LPG gas as cooking fuel) and those with a visible BCG scar were less likely to be non-responders. Conclusion. Proportion of non-responders was lower than elsewhere in the world. Proportion of TST positivity was higher in those already exposed to TB and in children who had been BCG immunized, with a zero response more likely in younger adolescents and those with recent weight loss.