Oral swab tests for tuberculosis (TB) can be as accurate as existing diagnostic methods, such as sputum tests, which are more expensive and invasive and potentially more dangerous for health workers, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health.
The researchers evaluated the biological feasibility of oral swab analysis for the detection of TB in a rural region of South Africa. They found that using two oral swabs per patient was as sensitive as a single sputum test. They also found that tongue swabs yielded stronger signals than cheek or gum swabs. Results were published Feb. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
“This approach could facilitate point-of-care diagnostic strategies and greatly simplify the care of patients,” said senior author Dr. Gerard Cangelosi, a professor in the School’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and adjunct professor of epidemiology and global health. “It could also facilitate active case-finding strategies, leading to reduced TB transmission and a new tool in the global fight to end TB.”Friday Letter Submission