HILDEN, Germany, January 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The German Central Committee against Tuberculosis (DZK) recommended that public health services and clinics should use modern blood tests to screen at-risk children for tuberculosis (TB) infection during a shortage of tuberculin, a protein extract used in TB skin tests. The recommendation has been published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Federal Government's organization responsible for disease control, in its current "Epidemiologic Bulletin" on January 25th.
According to the RKI, supplies of the only approved tuberculin in Germany are depleted and are causing significant shortages. Unavailability of the traditional skin test is occurring as the significant influx of refugees from Syria and other countries has resulted in an extensive need for TB testing. About 15-20% of the one million migrants, who have received or are seeking asylum in Germany, are estimated to be children below 16 years of age. For this group, current guidelines require screening ̶ using either TB skin tests or interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) that allow detection of both latent and active TB infections* from a small blood sample.
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