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Determinants of QuantiFERON Plus-diagnosed tuberculosis infection in adult Ugandan TB contacts

OAI: DOI: 10.17863/CAM.96240
Published by: PLOS ONE



The tuberculin skin test is commonly used to diagnose latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in resource-limited settings, but its specificity is limited by factors including cross-reactivity with BCG vaccine and environmental mycobacteria. Interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA) overcome this problem by detecting M. tuberculosis complex-specific responses, but studies to determine risk factors for IGRA-positivity in high TB burden settings are lacking.


We conducted a cross-sectional study to determine factors associated with a positive IGRA by employing the QuantiFERON-TB® Gold-plus (QFT Plus) assay in a cohort of asymptomatic adult TB contacts in Kampala, Uganda. Multivariate logistic regression analysis with forward stepwise logit function was employed to identify independent correlates of QFT Plus-positivity.


Of the 202 participants enrolled, 129/202 (64%) were female, 173/202 (86%) had a BCG scar, and 67/202 (33%) were HIV-infected. Overall, 105/192 (54%, 95% CI 0.48-0.62) participants had a positive QFT Plus result. Increased risk of QFT-Plus positivity was independently associated with casual employment/unemployment vs. non-casual employment (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.18, 95% CI 1.01-4.72), a family vs. non-family relation to the index patient (aOR 2.87, 95% CI 1.33-6.18), living in the same vs. a different house as the index (aOR 3.05, 95% CI 1.28-7.29), a higher body mass index (BMI) (aOR per additional kg/m2 1.09, 95% CI 1.00-1.18) and tobacco smoking vs. not (aOR 2.94, 95% CI 1.00-8.60). HIV infection was not associated with QFT-Plus positivity (aOR 0.91, 95% CI 0.42-1.96).


Interferon Gamma Release Assay positivity in this study population was lower than previously estimated. Tobacco smoking and BMI were determinants of IGRA positivity that were previously unappreciated.