1887

Abstract

The laboratory diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis mainly relies on the detection of complex (MTC) organisms in the sputum. In patients who do not give sputum, alternative respiratory tract specimens can be obtained only by invasive procedures. Based on the known survival of MTC organisms in the gastric fluid, we hypothesized that swallowed MTC organisms would be detectable in stool samples. We compared the presence of MTC organisms in respiratory tract specimens and stool specimens collected in parallel from the same patients. MTC was detected in cultures grown on egg-based medium after appropriate decontamination, by microscopic examination after Ziehl–Neelsen staining and by real-time PCR detection of IS using internal controls. A case of pulmonary tuberculosis was defined by the presence of (i) clinical and radiological signs and symptoms suggestive of pulmonary tuberculosis, and (ii) culture of MTC organisms from at least one respiratory tract specimen or (iii) the presence of acid-fast bacilli in the sputum that were subsequently identified as MTC organisms by real-time PCR. The observation of 134 patients suspected to be suffering pulmonary tuberculosis led to the identification of 24 cases and 110 non-infected control patients. Cases and controls did not significantly differ with respect to sex but cases were significantly younger than controls. The sensitivity/specificity was 37.5 %/100 % for the microscopic examination of stools, 54.2 %/100 % for culturing and 100 %/97.3 % for real-time PCR. The positive predicted value was 100 %, 100 % and 88.9 %, respectively, and the negative predicted value was 88 %, 90.9 % and 100 %, respectively. In four patients, a stool specimen initially yielded the correct diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis before evaluation of the respiratory tract specimen confirmed the diagnosis. These data indicate that stools could be used in conjunction with sputum testing or as an alternative specimen upon which to base the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis by molecular identification of acid-fast bacilli and culture. This non-invasive alternative procedure is of particular interest for patients who cannot expectorate.

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2009-07-01
2020-08-03
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