Tuberculin tests have been used in man principally (1) for detecting tuberculous infection in early childhood and for investigating its spread among the children of tuberculous households, (2) as an aid to the physician in the diagnosis of tuberculosis in individual cases, (3) to estimate the prognosis in cases of tuberculosis, and (4) to estimate the distribution of tuberculous infection in communities in different parts of the world. The last mentioned purpose is of fundamental importance in considering the epidemiology of this disease.
The small use that is made of the tuberculin test may be due to misconception of its value in the diagnosis of clinical tuberculosis. Thus it is still commonly believed that the diagnostic applications of the test are confined to early life. This belief is no doubt correct with regard to the positive diagnosis of clinical tuberculosis. A negative reaction excludes this disease with almost equal accuracy
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TUBERCULIN TESTS. JAMA. 1932;98(25):2212–2213. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730510038012