Tuberculin skin-test reactions are unaffected by the severity of hyperendemic intestinal helminth infections and co-infections

Karine Zevallos, Katherine C. Vergara, Antonio Vergara, Carlos Vidal, Hector H. Garcia, Carlton A. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The tuberculin skin test (TST) quantifies cell-mediated immunity to tuberculosis antigens. Helminths suppress cell-mediated immunity, so we studied the effect of helminth infection and deworming on the TST in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in an indigenous Amazon community (N = 195). Stool microscopy diagnosed helminths in 98% and co-infection with multiple species in 24% of study subjects. The TST was positive (≥ 10 mm) for 49%, and responses increased with age (P <0.001), Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination (P = 0.01), and tuberculosis contact (P = 0.05). TST results had no association with helminth-egg concentrations, species, or co-infections (all P > 0.1). One month after deworming with albendazole (three daily 400-mg doses), helminths were reduced, but 63% remained infected with helminths. Albendazole did not cause a change in TST size (P = 0.8) or positivity (P = 0.9) relative to placebo. Thus, TST reactions were unaffected by albendazole therapy that partially cured intestinal helminth infections, and TST interpretation was unaffected by high-burden helminth infections and co-infection with multiple helminth species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-325
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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