Papers And Originals

Interpretation of Positive Reactions to Heaf Tuberculin Test in London Schoolchildren

Br Med J 1972; 1 doi: (Published 11 March 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;1:647
  1. N. S. Galbraith,
  2. Audrey Hanson,
  3. R. Shoulman,
  4. D. W. Andrews,
  5. D. B. Lee


    A study of 289 children aged 12-14 years found to be Heaf test positive at routine testing was made to determine the likely cause of the positive tests. Only 12% of children grade 1 Heaf positive were likely to have had a previous infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 49% were likely to have had infections with atypical mycobacteria, and in 39% no cause for the positive Heaf test was found.

    The positive Heaf test seems to us to be too sensitive. Both a negative and grade 1 positive should be regarded as not significant and these children given B.C.G. vaccine. Heaf grades 2, 3, and 4 should be regarded as significant and the children investigated for M. tuberculosis infection.