HealthDay News — According to a final recommendation statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published in the September 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, high-risk populations should be screened for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI).

Researchers from the USPSTF conducted a systematic review of the evidence for targeted screening and treatment of LTBI among adults in primary care settings in order to update a previous recommendation. Data were included for 72 studies, with 51,711 patients.

The researchers found that none of the studies examined the benefits and harms of screening versus no screening. In countries with low TB burden, both the tuberculin skin test and interferon-gamma release assays had moderate sensitivity and high specificity. Treatment of LTBI provides a moderate health benefit in terms of preventing progression to active disease. The harms associated with screening and treatment were found to be small. As a result of these findings, the USPSTF recommends screening for LTBI in populations at increased TB risk (grade B recommendation).

“The Task Force found that there are effective screening tests that can detect latent TB infection, and there are effective treatments to prevent people from progressing from latent TB infection to active TB disease,” Task Force chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, said in a statement.

Recommendation Statement
Evidence Review