Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious public health problem in the UK, and detection and prophylactic treatment of latent infection offers improved control. A recent study advocates the use of IFN-γ release assays to detect latent TB infection in immigrants to the UK under 35 years of age and suggests that such a program would be most cost effective if targeted at new entrants from high burden countries. We discuss these findings in the light of recently updated UK and European guidelines. We conclude that while action to contain TB in the UK is urgently needed, further evidence is required to assess the impact and cost–effectiveness of screening algorithms for latent infection.
- IFN-γ release assay
- latent tuberculosis