Volume 83, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The tuberculin skin test (TST) quantifies cell-mediated immunity to tuberculosis antigens. Helminths suppress cell-mediated immunity, so we studied the effect of helminth infection and deworming on the TST in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in an indigenous Amazon community ( = 195). Stool microscopy diagnosed helminths in 98% and co-infection with multiple species in 24% of study subjects. The TST was positive (≥ 10 mm) for 49%, and responses increased with age ( < 0.001), Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination ( = 0.01), and tuberculosis contact ( = 0.05). TST results had no association with helminth-egg concentrations, species, or co-infections (all > 0.1). One month after deworming with albendazole (three daily 400-mg doses), helminths were reduced, but 63% remained infected with helminths. Albendazole did not cause a change in TST size ( = 0.8) or positivity ( = 0.9) relative to placebo. Thus, TST reactions were unaffected by albendazole therapy that partially cured intestinal helminth infections, and TST interpretation was unaffected by high-burden helminth infections and co-infection with multiple helminth species.


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  • Received : 02 Feb 2010
  • Accepted : 16 Mar 2010
  • Published online : 05 Aug 2010

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