ALLAN L. GOLDMAN, M.D.; DEMETRIOS G. HALKIAS, PH.D.
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To the editor: The reliability (specificity and sensitivity) of the acid-fast bacilli smear in the detection of tuberculosis has recently been questioned (1). In the specimens reviewed by Boyd and Marr, smears were screened using the auramine-rhodamine fluorescent technique, a sensitive but nonspecific test. Positive smears were restained using the Kinyoun method, a refinement of the old Ziehl-Neelsen technique. This method is more specific but less sensitive than the fluorescent technique. To be considered positive, the smear had to be positive by both methods. Specimens were also cultured. Through paired sample techniques, they analyzed 4510 specimens. Fifty-eight smears were positive
GOLDMAN AL, HALKIAS DG. Diagnostic Smear of Acid-Fast Bacilli. Ann Intern Med. 1975;83:283. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-83-2-283_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1975;83(2):283.
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