Is tuberculin skin testing useful to diagnose latent tuberculosis in BCG-vaccinated children?

Ma Cecilia García-Sancho, Lourdes García-García, Ma Eugenia Jiménez-Corona, Manuel Palacios-Martínez, Leticia D. Ferreyra-Reyes, Sergio Canizales-Quintero, Bulmaro Cano-Arellano, Alfredo Ponce-de-León, José Sifuentes-Osornio, Peter Small, Kathryn DeRiemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: The tuberculin skin test (TST) is the most commonly used tool to detect infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We sought to determine whether tuberculin skin testing is useful to detect latent infection by M. tuberculosis in a population that was vaccinated with the Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine. Methods: We performeda cross-sectional study during October 2000-February 2001, enrolling first and sixth graders from a random, stratified sample of public elementary schools in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico. We assessed the relationship between sociodemographic and epidemiological information, BCG scars, and TST reactivity. Results: There were 858 children enrolled in the study with a completed questionnaire and TST result. The prevalence of a positive TST result (≥10 mm) was 12.4%. Controlling for BCG scar, age, and other characteristics, close contact with pulmonary tuberculosis patients (odds ratio 6.56, 95% confidence interval 2.05 - 21.07, P = 0.001) was independently associated with TST reactivity. Conclusions: TST results helped identify children in a BCG-vaccinated population who had recent exposure to persons with pulmonary tuberculosis, were probably infected with M. tuberculosis, and could benefit from treatment for their latent tuberculosis infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1454
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine
  • Latent infection
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Tuberculin skin test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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