If you’re taking a job in the healthcare industry, a school, or child care facility, you may be required to take a tuberculosis (TB) test. Motion Medical Group provide a variety of testing services that employers or state law may require. The goal of TB testing is to determine if you have been exposed to tuberculosis, a contagious infection that attacks the lungs. Without this testing you won’t get the care you need, and you may spread the disease to many other people.
What is tuberculosis?
In the 20th century, tuberculosis (TB) was the leading cause of death. Modern day medicine has made great strides in eradicating this illness but it is still found in all corners of the world. It is an airborne infection, meaning it spreads just like the common cold.
If you are exposed to TB there are few symptoms at the start. The organisms that cause TB grow very slowly in the lungs, which is why this particular illness is so dangerous. You can have TB in your lungs and spread it to everyone in your life and never know you are sick.
How is the TB test performed?
If you’ve had a false positive result in the past or if you have ever had TB, then you should let us know. You will probably have a positive reaction to the skin test. A rash on a patient’s arms makes it difficult to get a clear reading of the test results.
What happens if there is a positive result?
A true positive reaction is more than just redness. A firm bump will form under the skin. That bump is measured as part of the test. But positive test does not mean you have the infection. A chest x-ray will be ordered just to rule out active disease and may do a sputum culture — a test of the thick fluid in your lungs and airways — as well.
Who needs a TB test?
The need for a TB test varies. The most common reason for testing is employment in healthcare. Our team might decide to test you if you have night sweats, a cough, and weight loss, which are some of the symptoms of TB. If you have HIV you should get a TB test as you are in an “at risk” group. Anyone who has spent time around someone with the disease should also be tested for TB.
Who should not have a TB test?
The TB test is a skin test. A small amount of the antigens for this infection, called purified protein derivative, are injected just under the top layer of skin, usually on the inside of your forearm. A reaction within a few days at the injection site shows exposure to TB in some cases. It’s not a foolproof test and it doesn’t tell you whether or not the infection is active.