Status of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test for tuberculosis serology in low socio economic status and undernourished children with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis

Kripasindhu Chatterjee, Pradyut Kumar Mandal, Nabamita Chaudhuri, Satarupa Mukherjee, Nabendu Chaudhuri, Sukanta Sen


Background:Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a major health problem in developing countries like India. The diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis is very difficult, because of paucibacillary nature of childhood disease and the confirmation is the detection of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis from sputum and similar specimen i.e. lymph node or other body fluid. The other means of diagnosis determination of antibody of tubercular IgM/IgA/IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Once it was considered a very good one but subsequent analysis is not so specific. The sensitivity and specificity was not good. Thus the ELISA has been discarded by WHO in 2011. The sensitivity and specificity was done all the patients’ irrespective age, nutritional and socioeconomic status. The objective of the study was to know its exact status of tubercular antibodies in low socioeconomic status.

Methods: The present study was conducted on 115 children who were suffering from clinically suspected pulmonary tuberculosis (PT) and those who had enlarged cervical lymph nodes as extra pulmonary tuberculosis (EPT). For all the cases MT test was done. The ELISA serological test of IgM and IgG antibodies were done.

Results:The present study has documented that the sensitivity and specificity is much lower than the studies conducted by the other authors conducted in different types of population of different age groups.

Conclusions:The ELISA serological tests of antibodies have false positivity and negativity. This leads over diagnosis or under diagnosis of tuberculosis. It is strongly recommended that these commercial tests not be used for the diagnosis of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary TB.  


ELISA test, Low socio-economic status, Tuberculosis, Undernourished children

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