Results of a study of tuberculin conversion rates in primary school children in Ireland
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THE objective of the study was to determine the natural tuberculin conversion rate in primary school children. Seventy-six percent of senior infants and 83 % of sixth class children enrolled in national schools in the academic year 1984/85 were included in the survey. Approximately two-thirds of both groups showed a BCG vaccination scar. Thirty-eight percent of scar present infants and 42% of scar present 6th class children were tuberculin positive Heaf grade 1 or greater. Among scar absent children 3.4% of the infants and 7% of the 6th class were tuberculin positive Heaf grade 1 or greater. For reasons detailed in the text, there are grounds for suspecting that the latter results are artificially inflated. The true figures for the natural conversion rate in unvaccinated children are likely to be of the order of 1.4% of infants and 4.7% of 6th class.
However interpreted, the survey points to a relatively low level of transmission of tuberculosis infection among primary school children and suggests the need to review BCG vaccination policy.
KeywordsPrimary School Child Misclassification Rate Unvaccinated Child Eastern Health Tuberculin Sensitivity
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