Accuracy of QuantiFERON-TB gold test for tuberculosis diagnosis in children

Michela Sali, Danilo Buonsenso, Delia Goletti, Pamela D'Alfonso, Antonella Zumbo, Giovanni Fadda, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Giovanni Delogu, Piero Valentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate the accuracy of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay (QFT-IT) in children with suspected active or latent TB infection (LTBI). Methods: A retrospective study was conducted on 621 children (0-14 years old) evaluated for TB infection or disease. Following clinical assessment, children were tested with the QFT-IT assay. Results: Among the 140 active TB suspects, we identified 19 cases of active disease. The overall sensitivity for active TB was 87.5%, ranging from 62.5% in children 25-36 months old to 100% in children older than 49 months. The overall specificity for active TB was 93.6%. Among the 481 children tested for LTBI screening, 38 scored positive and all but 2 had at least one risk factor for TB infection. Among the 26 children with indeterminate results, bacterial, viral or fungal pneumonia were later diagnosed in 11 (42.3%) cases and non-TB related extra-pulmonary infections in 12 (46.1%). Conclusions: Our results indicate that the children's response to QFT-IT associates to active TB and risk factors for LTBI. Moreover, we show that mitogen response is also found in children of 1 year of age, providing support for QFT-IT use also in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0138952
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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