What is Tuberculosis or TB infection?Tuberculosis is an infectious and dangerous disease that affects the lungs. The cause of this infection is bacteria. The transmission agent of this disease is particles that are released by the patient while sneezing and coughing. In developed countries, the prevalence of tuberculosis due to the emergence of HIV has increased. Being infected with HIV causes the body to be unable to resist tuberculosis. Although the prevalence of tuberculosis in the United States is not so severe, tuberculosis is still a serious concern. Tuberculosis is latent or active. When the disease is latent, TB germ is present in the body, but there are no symptoms, and the so-called disease is inactive. Symptoms appear when TB is activated, and the patient can spread the bacteria to other people.
What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
- Coughing that may last for three weeks or more.
- Coughing with blood
- Chest pain
- Severe and involuntary weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
What is a TB skin test?This test is also called Mantoux tuberculin skin. You must visit your health care provider twice to take this test. In the first visit, the test is placed on your skin, and in the second visit, the results are read.
How is a TB skin test performed?1. A small amount of purified protein derivative (PPD) solution is first injected into your skin in the lower arm. The PPD solution contains inactivated TB bacteria. 2. Then you should go to your home and return to the office after 48 to 72 hours to check the reaction on your arm. 3. The test result will depend on the size, hard area, or swelling at the injection site.
Testing for TB InfectionThere are two tests for TB infection
- TB blood test
- TB skin test
How is the TB skin test result interpreted?
- Positive skin test: This result indicates that your body is infected with TB. In these cases, more tests should be done to determine if the infection is latent or active.
- Negative skin test: This result indicates that your body has not responded to the test. Therefore, the possibility of having active or latent tuberculosis is unlikely.
- False-negative results: In some cases, the test result may be a false negative. This result is due to the weakening of a person’s immune response to TB over time. So if the result of the first test is negative, the second test can be done a few weeks later. In this way, the body can react positively if it has already been exposed to tuberculosis. If the second TB skin test is still negative, then the result can be considered true. But if the result is positive, other tests will be necessary.
Who needs a TB skin test?
- Anyone who has spent time with the person suffered from TB infection
- People who are suffering from any immune system problems such as HIV infection
- People from countries where TB infection is prevalent, such as Latin America, Russia, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, etc.
- People with TB infection symptoms including fever, cough, weight loss, and night sweats.
- People who are in rehabilitation centers or correctional institutes
Frequently Asked Questions about TB Skin TestWhat is a TB skin test?
This test is for tuberculosis diagnosis. A small amount of inactivated TB bacteria is injected into your skin then the injection site is examined.
How do you know if a TB skin test is positive?
The result depends on the swelling. If positive, other tests are done to determine if TB is active or latent.
How is a TB skin test performed?
A small amount of inactivated TB bacteria is injected into your skin. After 48 to 72 hours, the injection site is examined.
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