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July 1962

Unclassified MycobacteriaA Cause of Nonspecific Tuberculin Reactions?

Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(1):21-29. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030023004

In the course of routine tuberculin testing of preschool children in a clinic it became apparent that a number of positive reactions to intermediate-strength tuberculin could not be attributed to exposure to persons infected with active tuberculosis. Furthermore, it appeared that many of these unexplained tuberculin conversions represented low-grade hypersensitivity and showed a propensity to revert to negativity on retesting 6 to 12 months later.1 Since most of these children have been recommended for prophylactic antituberculous therapy by a Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics 2 based on the U.S. Public Health Service tuberculosis prophylaxis trial3 findings, it became important to determine whether these reactions indicated the presence of tuberculosis.

Edwards, Edwards, and Palmer4 have noted that in some geographic areas many people had small reactions to intermediate-strength 5 TU (tuberculin units) tuberculin. They postulated that the unusual number of small reactors could be explained by

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