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INTRODUCTION: Microscopic [corrected] Observation Drug Susceptibility (MODS) has been shown to be an effective and rapid technique for early diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Thus far only a limited number of studies evaluating MODS have been performed in children and in extra-pulmonary tuberculosis. This study aims to assess relative accuracy and time to positive culture of MODS for TB diagnosis in children admitted to a general pediatric hospital in Vietnam. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Specimens from children with suspected TB were tested by smear, MODS and Lowenstein-Jensen agar (LJ). 1129 samples from 705 children were analyzed, including sputum (n=59), gastric aspirate (n=775), CSF (n=148), pleural fluid (n=33), BAL (n=41), tracheal fluid (n=45), other (n=28). 113 TB cases were defined based on the "clinical diagnosis" (confirmed and probable groups) as the reference standard, in which 26% (n=30) were diagnosed as extra-pulmonary TB. Analysis by patient shows that the overall sensitivity and specificity of smear, LJ and MODS against "clinical diagnosis" was 8.8% and 100%, 38.9% and 100%, 46% and 99.5% respectively with MODS significantly more sensitive than LJ culture (P=0.02). When analyzed by sample type, the sensitivity of MODS was significantly higher than LJ for gastric aspirates (P=0.004). The time to detection was also significantly shorter for MODS than LJ (7 days versus 32 days, P<0.001). CONCLUSION: MODS [corrected] is a sensitive and rapid culture technique for detecting TB in children. As MODS culture can be performed at a BSL2 facility and is inexpensive, it can therefore be recommended as a routine test for children with symptoms suggestive of TB in resource-limited settings.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Child, Preschool, Diagnostic Tests, Routine, Female, Humans, Infant, Male, Sensitivity and Specificity, Tuberculosis, Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant, Vietnam