Detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Children Migrating to Australia

Ingrid Laemmle-Ruff, Stephen M. Graham, Bridget Williams, Danielle Horyniak, Suman S. Majumdar, Georgia A. Paxton, Lila V. Soares Caplice, Margaret E. Hellard, James M. Trauer

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In 2015, Australia updated premigration screening for tuberculosis (TB) disease in children 2–10 years of age to include testing for infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and enable detection of latent TB infection (LTBI). We analyzed TB screening results in children <15 years of age during November 2015–June 2017. We found 45,060 child applicants were tested with interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) (57.7% of tests) or tuberculin skin test (TST) (42.3% of tests). A total of 21 cases of TB were diagnosed: 4 without IGRA or TST, 10 with positive IGRA or TST, and 7 with negative results. LTBI was detected in 3.3% (1,473/44,709) of children, for 30 applicants screened per LTBI case detected. LTBI-associated factors included increasing age, TB contact, origin from a higher TB prevalence region, and testing by TST. Detection of TB and LTBI benefit children, but the updated screening program’s effect on TB in Australia is likely to be limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1833-1841
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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