Article abstract

Introduction: to report on the diagnostic yield using the Xpert MTB/RIF assay on gastric lavage samples from children (<15 years) who were household contacts of tuberculosis (TB) cases in Kigali, Rwanda.


Methods: a cross-sectional study was conducted among 216 child contacts of index cases with sputum smear-positive TB over a 7 month period, from 1st August 2015 to 29th February 2016. Child contacts with tuberculosis-related symptoms or abnormal chest X-ray had sputum collected by gastric lavage on two consecutive days and samples were examined by smear microscopy, Xpert MTB/RIF assay and solid culture.


Results: of the 216 child contacts, 94 (44%) were less than 5 years of age. Most of them 84 (89%) were receiving isoniazid preventive therapy at the time of screening. Thirty seven out of 216 children had TB-related symptoms. Only 4 (10.8%) were clinically diagnosed with TB; and none had bacteriologically confirmed tuberculosis.


Conclusion: the use of Xpert MTB/RIF assay did not contribute to bacteriological confirmation of active TB in child contacts in this study. The low prevalence of tuberculosis in child contacts in this study may reflect the high coverage of preventive therapy in young (<5 years) child contacts. The low sensitivity of Xpert MTB/RIF assay in contacts may also suggest likely reflection of paucibacillary disease.