Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Young children exposed to tuberculosis have a high risk of progression to severe tuberculosis disease, but diagnosis of recent infection is hindered by the poor sensitivity of the tuberculin skin test. Whether new blood tests can detect latent infection in this vulnerable group is unknown because there is no gold standard. We monitored a tuberculin skin test-negative infant whose mother had infectious multidrug-resistant tuberculosis with enzyme-linked immunospot, a blood test that enumerates Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific T cells. The enzyme-linked immunospot test became persistently positive by 6 months, and 18 months later the child developed active tuberculosis despite appropriate chemoprophylaxis. At this point, the magnitude of the enzyme-linked immunospot response increased >10-fold. Our findings demonstrate that this blood test detected latent infection with dormant, yet viable, bacilli and illustrate how enzyme-linked immunospot could improve diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis infection.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





e1 - e5


Antigens, Bacterial, Antitubercular Agents, Chemoprevention, DNA Fingerprinting, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Interferon-gamma, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, T-Lymphocytes, Tuberculin Test, Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant