The ability to rapidly detect tubercle bacilli in respiratory secretions was determined for the BDProbeTEC ET Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Direct Detection Assay in comparison with the acid-fast smear (AFS). A total of 267 respiratory specimens obtained from 89 patients were evaluated. The DTB assay was positive in 70 of 78 culture positive specimens (89.7%) and 12 of 177 culture negative specimens (6.8%). The AFS was positive in 33 of 78 culture positive specimens (42.3%) and 3 of 186 culture negative specimens (1.6%). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of DTB assay were 89.7%, 93.7%, 85.4%, and 95.7%, respectively. The sensitivity of a single DBT (74.4%) was 2.1-times greater than three AFS (35.9%). The greater cost of the DTB assay compared to the AFS was compensated by its valuable information for the diagnosis and control of tuberculosis. These results demonstrated the clinical usefulness of the DTB assay for the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis in respiratory specimens.
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