Clinical and epidemiological characteristics of individuals resistant to M. tuberculosis infection in a longitudinal TB household contact study in Kampala, Uganda

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Abstract

Background: Despite sustained exposure to a person with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), some M. tuberculosis (Mtb) exposed individuals maintain a negative tuberculin skin test (TST). Our objective was to characterize these persistently negative TST (PTST-) individuals and compare them to TST converters (TSTC) and individuals who are TST positive at study enrollment.Methods: During a TB household contact study in Kampala, Uganda, PTST-, TSTC, and TST + individuals were identified. PTST- individuals maintained a negative TST over a 2 year observation period despite prolonged exposure to an infectious tuberculosis (TB) case. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics were compared, a risk score developed by another group to capture risk for Mtb infection was computed, and an ordinal regression was performed.Results: When analyzed independently, epidemiological risk factors increased in prevalence from PTST- to TSTC to TST+. An ordinal regression model suggested age (p < 0.01), number of windows (p < 0.01) and people (p = 0.07) in the home, and sleeping in the same room (p < 0.01) were associated with PTST- and TSTC. As these factors do not exist in isolation, we examined a risk score, which reflects an accumulation of risk factors. This compound exposure score did not differ significantly between PTST-, TSTC, and TST+, except for the 5-15 age group (p = 0.009).Conclusions: Though many individual factors differed across all three groups, an exposure risk score reflecting a collection of risk factors did not differ for PTST-, TSTC and TST + young children and adults. This is the first study to rigorously characterize the epidemiologic risk profile of individuals with persistently negative TSTs despite close exposure to a person with TB. Additional studies are needed to characterize possible epidemiologic and host factors associated with this phenotype. © 2014 Ma et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Ma, N., Zalwango, S., Malone, L. S. L., Nsereko, M., Wampande, E. M., Thiel, B. A., … Stein, C. M. (2014). Clinical and epidemiological characteristics of individuals resistant to M. tuberculosis infection in a longitudinal TB household contact study in Kampala, Uganda. BMC Infectious Diseases, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-14-352

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