Tuberculosis

18 July 2011

Blood tests for TB are unreliable

The World Health Organization says widely used blood tests to detect tuberculosis are dangerous to patients because they are unreliable.

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The World Health Organization says widely used blood tests to detect tuberculosis are dangerous to patients because they are unreliable.

The United Nations health agency said it will issue an unprecedented recommendation against using such tests for the infectious lung disease thought to affect 14 million people worldwide.

Blood tests are often used in developing countries such as India, where an estimated 3 million people are infected with the disease.

TB tests are wasteful

The director of the WHO's Stop TB department, Mario Raviglione, told The Associated Press that the tests are "a waste of money and time, putting proper care at risk".

The guidance to be issued later this week recommends that patients continue to be tested, using the older sputum microscopy method.

(Sapa, July 2011)

Read more:

Sputum microscopy method

Lung disease

 

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