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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evaluation of the Xpert MTB/RIF test for the diagnosis of childhood pulmonary tuberculosis in Uganda: a cross-sectional diagnostic study

Moorine Penninah Sekadde1*, Eric Wobudeya23, Moses L Joloba4, Willy Ssengooba4, Harriet Kisembo5, Sabrina Bakeera-Kitaka1 and Philippa Musoke13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

2 Directorate of Paediatrics and Child Health, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganda

3 Makerere University-John Hopkins University (MU-JHU) Research Collaboration, Kampala, Uganda

4 Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

5 Department of Radiology, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:133  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-133

Published: 12 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis remains a challenge worldwide. The Xpert MTB/RIF test, a rapid mycobacteria tuberculosis diagnostic tool, was recommended for use in children based on data from adult studies. We evaluated the performance of the Xpert MTB/RIF test for the diagnosis of childhood pulmonary tuberculosis using one induced sputum sample and described clinical characteristics associated with a positive Xpert MTB/RIF test. The sputum culture on both Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) and Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) was the gold standard.

Methods

We consecutively enrolled 250 Ugandan children aged 2 months to 12 years with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis between January 2011 and January 2012 into a cross-sectional diagnostic study at a tertiary care facility in Uganda.

Results

We excluded data from 15 children (13 contaminated culture and 2 indeterminate MTB/RIF test results) and analysed 235 records. The Xpert MTB/RIF test had a sensitivity of 79.4% (95% CI 63.2 - 89.7) and a specificity of 96.5% (95% CI 93 – 98.3). The Xpert MTB/RIF test identified 13 of the 14 (92.9%) smear positive-culture positive and 14 of the 20 (70%) smear negative -culture positive cases. The Xpert MTB/RIF identified twice as many cases as the smear microscopy (79.4% Vs 41.2%). Age > 5 years (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.4 – 7.4, p value 0.005), a history of Tuberculosis (TB) contact (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1 – 5.2, p value 0.03), and a positive tuberculin skin test (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.7 – 10, p value 0.02) was associated with a positive Xpert MTB/RIF test. The median time to TB detection was 49.5 days (IQR 38.4-61.2) for LJ, and 6 days (IQR 5 – 11.5) for MGIT culture and 2 hours for the Xpert MTB/RIF test.

Conclusion

The Xpert MTB/RIF test on one sputum sample rapidly and correctly identified the majority of children with culture confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis with high specificity.

Keywords:
Children; Pulmonary tuberculosis; Sensitivity; Specificity; Xpert MTB/RIF