Risk factors associated with indeterminate interferon gamma responses in the assessment of latent tuberculosis infection in a high incidence environment

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The performance of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRA) in the detection of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection is limited by the higher rates of indeterminate results in HIV-infected persons, who bear the brunt of TB disease in some high-burden settings. The objective of the study was to evaluate predictors of indeterminate IGRA results in the overall study population and in HIV-infected persons. The study setting is Khayelitsha, an informal township in the Western Cape of South Africa, with a high burden of TB and HIV infection. A total of 561 asymptomatic persons were recruited from the day hospital and youth centers. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic information, and blood tests, including CD4 counting and a 7-day in-house IGRA, were performed. The overall prevalence of indeterminate IGRA results was 8.6% (48/561), and this was higher in HIV-infected than in HIV-uninfected persons (11.5% [38/330] versus 4.3% [10/231], respectively; P = 0.003). In the overall study population, predictors of indeterminate IGRA results were the presence of HIV infection (odds ratio [OR], 2.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 5.08) and the presence of a Mycobacterium bovis BCG scar (OR, 2.48; 95% CI, 1.23 to 5.01). Long-term township residents were significantly less likely to have indeterminate results than recent migrants (OR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.80). Among HIV-infected persons, participants with CD4 counts of >200 cells/mm(3) and long-term residents were significantly less likely to have indeterminate IGRA results (OR of 0.21 with a 95% CI of 0.09 to 0.48 and OR of 0.22 with a 95% CI of 0.07 to 0.68, respectively). We evaluated risk factors for indeterminate IGRA results and report a higher rate of indeterminate results among HIV-infected persons, particularly those with lower CD4 counts. Of note, a recent move to the township was associated with a higher risk of indeterminate IGRA results.

Journal details

Volume 19
Issue number 8
Pages 1243-1247
Publication date