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Latent tuberculosis screening

South West London Pathology provides a latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) testing service for the London region on behalf of NHS England.

Our service includes arranging collection of the samples; analysis; interpretation reporting and feedback of the results.

See the guidance and request forms for this service

Why is screening for latent TB (LTBI) important?

Latent TB is a term applied to those infected with the TB bacteria but remain healthy It is assumed that the tubercle bacilli are in some dormant or resting ‘persister’ state, although the exact nature of this state is not completely clear. 

People with latent TB are asymptomatic and are not infectious, but can develop active TB in the future and it is therefore important to identify these patients in at risk groups and to commence treatment before it becomes active and can lead to onward transmission. Patients who have had a BCG need to be screened too because a BCG does not stop you from getting active TB in the future. 

NICE guidance recommends that new entrants to the UK from areas deemed to be high-incidence should be routinely screened, and this recommendation has been taken forward in Public Health England’s Collaborative Tuberculosis Strategy for England.

Patients that this includes are:

  • Age 16-35
  • Spent more than six months in a high incidence country (>150 TB cases per 100,000 population)
  • Entered the UK in the last five years
  • Not been screened for TB before
  •  

You should also consider screening those

  • Age 16-35
  • Social risk factor- current/ex drug user, ex-prisoner, homeless or was homeless, current alcohol misuse
  • Not been screened for TB before

LTBI screening at South West London Pathology (SWLP)

At SWLP, we have significant capacity to carry out latent TB testing using the Quantiferon Gold Plus testing method. Using this technology, we are able to run multiple tests a day, with an average turnaround time of three to five days.

In addition to this, we have:

  • Dedicated operational and clinical support
  • Clinical expertise from leading TB experts at St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • A fully UKAS accredited laboratory
  • Logistical set up and results reporting to meet your requirements

We currently provide a full screening service to a number of London boroughs, including areas of high incidence such as Newham and Haringey. We also carry out all LTBI screening for Wales.

LTBI testing using Quantiferon Gold Plus

QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus is a simple blood test that aids in the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria which causes tuberculosis (TB). 

Benefits of QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus

  • A simple, single blood test that requires only one patient visit
  • WQuick and reliable results (3 to 5 days turnaround time)
  • 95% sensitivity
  • 98% specificity – less unnecessary follow-up treatment
  • Endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Further information

Contact

South West London Pathology is your best partner to achieve a successful and easy LTBI screening programme.

If you are interested in finding out more about this test or partnering with SWLP please email stgh-tr.LTBI@nhs.net

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