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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1850879, 5 pages
Research Article

Change in the Prevalence of Testing for Latent Tuberculosis Infection in the United States: 1999–2012

1Tuberculosis Program, Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8
2Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8
3Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2C4

Received 26 February 2016; Revised 3 May 2016; Accepted 9 May 2016

Academic Editor: Alberto Ruano-Ravina

Copyright © 2016 Nicholas T. Vozoris and Jane Batt. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. There is no information on the change in prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) testing in the United States (US) following the introduction of the interferon gamma release assay (IGRA), a new and alternative diagnostic method for LTBI. The purpose of this study was to evaluate potential changes in the prevalence of LTBI testing in the US following the introduction of IGRA. Methods. This was a multiyear cross-sectional study using nationally representative data from the 1999-2000 and 2011-2012 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Self-reported prevalence of LTBI testing was estimated among groups known to have increased LTBI risk. Descriptive statistics were used. Results. Compared to 1999-2000, significantly fewer individuals self-reported being tested for LTBI in 2011-2012 among Hispanic Americans (68.0% versus 60.7%, ) and among those with comorbidities (74.7% versus 72.0%, ). There were also nonsignificant trends towards less self-reported LTBI testing in 2011-2012 versus 1999-2000 among household contacts of active TB cases, foreign-born individuals, and African Americans. Conclusions. Despite the introduction of IGRA, LTBI testing occurs less frequently in the US among vulnerable groups. Possibly inadequate targeted LTBI testing could result in increased active TB in the US in the future.