Bacteriological diagnosis of childhood TB: a prospective observational study.
Brent AJ., Mugo D., Musyimi R., Mutiso A., Morpeth SC., Levin M., Scott JAG.
Childhood TB diagnosis is challenging. Studies in adults suggest Microscopic Observation Drug Susceptibility (MODS) culture or the Xpert MTB/RIF assay might be used to expand bacteriological diagnosis. However data from children are more limited. We prospectively compared MODS and Xpert MTB/RIF with standard microscopy and culture using the BD MGIT 960 system among 1442 Kenyan children with suspected TB. 97 specimens from 54 children were TB culture-positive: 91 (94%) by MGIT and 74 (76%) by MODS (p = 0.002). 72 (74%) culture-positive and 7 culture-negative specimens were Xpert MTB/RIF positive. Xpert MTB/RIF specificity was 100% (99.7-100%) among 1164 specimens from 892 children in whom TB was excluded, strongly suggesting all Xpert MTB/RIF positives are true positives. The sensitivity of MGIT, MODS and Xpert MTB/RIF was 88%, 71% and 76%, respectively, among all 104 true positive (culture and/or Xpert MTB/RIF positive) specimens. MGIT, MODS and Xpert MTB/RIF on the initial specimen identified 40/51 (78%), 33/51 (65%) and 33/51 (65%) culture-confirmed pulmonary TB cases, respectively; Xpert MTB/RIF detected 5 additional culture-negative cases. The high sensitivity and very high specificity of the Xpert MTB/RIF assay supports its inclusion in the reference standard for bacteriological diagnosis of childhood TB in research and clinical practice.