Letters

When is referral of Heaf test positive schoolchildren worth while?

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7073.71b (Published 04 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:71

More data are needed

  1. David Elliman, Immunisation coordinatora
  1. a Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority St George's Hospital, London SW17 0QT
  2. b Newham Chest Clinic, Shrewsbury Centre, London E7 8QP
  3. c Middlesex Hospital, London W1N 8AA
  4. d Paediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases Unit, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE

    Editor–The short report by Helen Booth and colleagues does not answer the question posed–namely, when is referral of Heaf test positive schoolchildren worth while?1 From the introduction I had expected the report to address the issue of whether children should be referred for further assessment if they are found to be positive on Heaf testing before being given BCG vaccine as part of the routine schools programme. Unfortunately, the data provided are not detailed enough to do this. As the children included in the study ranged in age from 5 to 14 years some of them must have been tested because they were at high risk (the schools programme applies to children in secondary school). One would expect a higher incidence of positive results in children tested because they are at high risk than in those routinely tested.

    As the debate centres on children found to have a grade 2 positive result on Heaf testing the following information is needed: the number of children found to have such a result on routine testing; the number of these children who had a positive result of a Mantoux test and the number who had been given BCG vaccine previously; and the number of these children thought to be in need …

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