Spotlight on latent tuberculosis infection screening for juvenile idiopathic arthritis in two countries, comparing high and low risk patients

Daniela Piotto, Aline Nicacio, Agna Neto, Ana Filipa Mourão, Filipa Oliveira-Ramos, Raquel Campanilho-Marques, Margarida Guedes, Marta Cabral, Maria José Santos, João Eurico Fonseca, Helena Canhão, Nádia Emi Aikawa, Sheila K F Oliveira, Virginia P L Ferriani, Gecilmara C S Pileggi, Claudia S Magalhães, Clovis Artur Silva, Maria Teresa Terreri

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BACKGROUND: Rheumatic diseases are associated with an increase in overall risks of tuberculosis (TB). The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of TB and the frequency of latent TB infection (LTBI), in clinical practice, for juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients from high and low risk of TB incidence endemic countries.

METHODS: This is an international, multicenter, cross-sectional, observational study of data collection from Brazil and Registry of Portugal at REUMA.PT. The inclusion criteria were patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) with age ≤ 18 years who underwent screening for Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection [tuberculin skin test (TST) and/or interferon gamma release assay (IGRA)]. Chest X-rays and history of exposure to TB were also assessed.

RESULTS: 292 JIA patients were included; mean age 14.3 years, mean disease duration 7.5 years, 194 patients (66.4%) performed only TST, 14 (4.8%) only IGRA and 84 (28.8%) both. The frequency of LTBI (10.6%) and TB was similar between the two countries. The reasons for TB screening were different; in Brazil it was performed more often at JIA onset while in Portugal it was performed when starting Disease Modified Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARD) treatment (p < 0.001). Isoniazid therapy was prescribed in 40 (13.7%) patients (31 with LTBI and 9 with epidemiologic risks and/or due to contact with sick people). Only three patients (1%) developed active TB.

CONCLUSION: We found nearly 10% of patients with LTBI, a small percentage of patients with treatment due to epidemiologic risks and only 1% with active TB. Distinct reasons and screening methods for LTBI were observed between the two countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalAdvances in rheumatology (London, England)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Antirheumatic Agents/therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Juvenile/complications
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests/methods
  • Latent Tuberculosis/diagnosis
  • Tuberculin Test/methods


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