Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis From Patients Who Are Nucleic Acid Amplification Test Negative

Yingda L. Xie, Wendy A. Cronin, Michael Proschan, Richard Oatis, Silvia Cohn, Scott R. Curry, Jonathan E Golub, Clifton E. Barry, Susan E. Dorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Among adults with signs and symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), recognition of transmissible TB has implications for airborne infection isolation and public health activities. Sputum smear-negative TB patients account for around one-fifth of tuberculosis transmission. The tuberculosis transmission risk of TB patients with negative results on nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) of respiratory specimens has not been established. We sought to estimate the tuberculosis transmission risk of NAAT-negative TB patients. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed Maryland TB program data collected from 2004 to 2009, during which time NAAT using the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Direct Test (MTD) was performed routinely. Patients with sputum Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) isolates having matching genotypes were assigned to clusters. Transmission sequence was approximated by collection order of individuals' first culture-positive specimens. Minimum transmission risks of NAAT (MTD)-negative TB patients and of smear-negative TB patients were estimated based on individuals' positions within clusters. Results: Among 809 patients with culture-confirmed TB, M.tb genotypes were available for 782 (96.7%). For NAA-negative TB patients, the minimum transmission risk estimate was 5.1% (95% CI 0-11.4). For smear-negative TB patients, the minimum transmission risk estimate was 11.2% (95% CI 7.2-15.3). Conclusions: Minimum transmission risk of NAAT-negative TB patients was lower than that of smear-negative TB patients. However, transmission risk of NAA-negative TB patients appears to not be negligible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1653-1659
Number of pages7
JournalClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Volume67
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 13 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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