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April 22, 1974

Skin Testing for Tuberculosis: Antigen and Observer Variability

Author Affiliations

From the Preventive Medicine Office (CPT Erdtmann), Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, and the Division of Preventive Medicine (CPT Dixon and LTC Llewellyn), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC. Dr. Erdtmann is now at the School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley. CPT Dixon and LTC Llewellyn are now at the USAMRU-Trans-Amazon, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Brazil.

JAMA. 1974;228(4):479-481. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230290027024

Inadvertent exposure of a group of military personnel to a soldier with active pulmonary tuberculosis provided an opportunity to compare skin test results obtained with three different antigen preparations and with four observers. The purified protein derivative preparations used were as follows: (1) stabilized with polysorbate 80 (Tween-80) (PPD-T); (2) a commercial tableted tuberculin (PPD-PD); (3) the Public Health Service standard (PPD-S).

All were administered and read in a blind manner. The largest proportion of positive tests was obtained with PPD-T. The degree of agreement among the observers did not depend on the choice of antigens. The data indicate the usefulness of PPD with polysorbate 80 in tuberculosis screening.

(JAMA 228:479-481, 1974)