ŞİMŞEK H., Ceyhan I., Tarhan G., Guner U.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.44, no.4, pp.561-569, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.561-569
  • Keywords: Tuberculosis, AFB, microscopy, external quality assessment, LQAS, blind recheck, SPUTUM SMEAR MICROSCOPY, RECHECKING, ASSURANCE
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: No


Recently, the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) has based on smear microscopy in the Direct Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS) programme which provides the basis of treatment worldwide. Microscopic detection of AFB (Acid-Fast Bacilli) is one of the main components in the National TB Control Programmes (NTCP). Precision level in microscopy procedures and evaluations are the most important steps for accurate diagnosis of the disease and to initiate proper treatment. Therefore, the external quality assessment (EQA) is the most important implement to provide the reliability and validity of tests. In countries where NTCP are performed, this task is fulfilled by the National Reference Laboratories (NRL) according to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). For this purpose a pilot study was initiated by the central NRL of Turkey for EQA of AFB smear microscopy as part of the NTCP on January 1, 2005. A total of 5 laboratories of which 2 were district TB laboratories (A, B), 2 were tuberculosis control dispensaries (C, D), 1 was a national reference laboratory (E), participated in this study. Blind re-checking method (re-examination of randomly selected slides) was used for the evaluation, and the slides were sent to the central NRL with 3 months interval, four times a year, selected according to LQAS (Lot Quality Assurance Sampling) guides. In the re-evaluation of the slides, false positivity (FP), false negativity (FN) and quantification errors (QE) were noted. Laboratory A, sent totally 525 slides between January 1, 2005 and April 1, 2008. In the result of re-checking, 514 (97.9%) slides were found concordant, and 11(2.1%) were discordant (10 FP, 1 FN). Laboratory B, participated in the study between October 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006 and of the 67 re-examined slides, 60 (89.5%) were concordant and 7 (10.5%) were discordant (2 FP, 0 FN, 5 QE). Laboratory C, sent 235 slides between January 1, 2005 and April 1, 2006; of them 218 (92.8%) were detected as compatible and 1 7 (7.2%) slides were incompatible (4 FP, 9 FN, 4 QE). Laboratory D, participated in QC for only once between January 1, 2008 and April 1, 2008; and all the 50 slides were found compatible, with no FP, FN and QE. Laboratory E, was included in the study between January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2008 and of the 696 re-checked slides, 690 (99.1%) were reported as compatible and 6 (0.9%) were incompatible (3 FN, 3 QE). Following EQA, on-site evaluation of the laboratories with major errors, was performed and necessary adjustments and training were done. In conclusion, external quality control measures for AFB microscopy is crucial and essential for the tuberculosis laboratory performances for accurate and reliable results.