Italian researchers claim the superiority of blood tests over skin tests for detecting people with latent tuberculosis. According to them blood tests are effective, reliable and therefore holds promise in detecting latent TB.
Though the numerous people with the dormant TB infection never actually get a full blown respiratory disease, yet it becomes imperative to detect such cases and offer treatment, which would take the pursuit of TB eradication forward.
Dr Luca Richeldi, who headed the study, in The Lancet medical journal said "To help control and possibly eliminate tuberculosis in low-prevalence areas, a specific and sensitive test for latent infection is needed. Two new blood tests might be more accurate than the tuberculin skin test."
Tuberculosis scores very high amongst the infectious airborne disease category, known to affect about 9 million people worldwide. Along with AIDS/HIV, it makes a potentially dangerous combination, especially in Africa where TB has risen at an alarming rate. A person with tuberculosis can infect others with the TB germs, or bacilli, merely by coughing, sneezing, talking or spitting.
According to the scientists, blood tests could be used in combination with skin test or in isolation to detect latent TB. Ultimately the selection of the diagnostic test will rest on the population being tested, the purpose of testing, and resources available.