AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado
AfterOurs Clinics - Colorado

TB (Tuberculosis) Testing

Doctor examining the patient chest x-ray film lungs scan at radiology department in hospital

AfterOurs Urgent Care offers screening tests for tuberculosis or TB testing at our clinics serving Denver, CO. Tuberculosis or TB, is an illness spread by bacteria through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or spits. An individual can become infected through regular exposure by living with or working around infected persons. Whether you need a TB test as part of a required health screening or have symptom concerns, AfterOurs clinics provides convenient access to tuberculosis testing.

What is TB?

TB stands for tuberculosis which is an illness caused by bacteria which are spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or spits. Most commonly a person becomes infected by living with an individual who has the disease, but exposure may also occur in the community, particularly if an individual works in health care, has contact routinely with homeless or incarcerated individuals, or have traveled or immigrated from countries where TB rates are higher.

Who Should Be Tested for Tuberculosis?

Testing is often required for individuals who will be working or who are training in the healthcare industry to help protect those patients they will be working with. Testing may also be recommended if you are exposed for any prolonged period to individuals who are homeless or incarcerated as these populations do experience more disease, or if you have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) or require testing to begin a medication or treatment which may affect your immune system function.

The test is done to determine if you have ever been exposed to TB as most individuals who do have TB in their lungs have what is called latent TB, which means the bacteria is inactive, or dormant in the body.

How Is the Test Done?

A Tuberculin skin test or Mantoux test requires two visits to our clinic. On the first visit, a small shot will be given to you on the inside of your forearm with PPD. This is a protein that will cause a reaction by your immune system if you have been exposed to tuberculosis in the past.

You must return for a second visit after 48 hours and, before 72 hours have passed to have a staff member read the result of your test. The result is inaccurate if it is read less than 48 hours or more than 72 hours after the skin test was placed.

You Should Not Have This Test Done if You Have Ever Had a Positive Skin Test in the Past.

What If My Test Is Positive?

If your skin test is positive, you will meet with a provider in our clinic to discuss the next steps which will typically include a chest x-ray to evaluate the health of your lungs and a referral to a clinic which can discuss results and whether you need treatment.

What does a TB test cost?

We do not accept insurance for the TB test. The total cost for testing is $70 ($35 to administer the test and an additional $35 for the follow up visit to read your test result).

If you do have a positive result, you will be seen by a provider in our urgent care and that visit may be billed to your insurance company.

What Are the Symptoms That Indicate I Should Seek TB Testing?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs but can spread to other parts of the body. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment and preventing the spread of the disease. Here are some symptoms and reasons why you should seek TB testing beyond routine health screenings:

Persistent Cough- A cough that lasts more than three weeks and does not respond to standard treatments is a common symptom of TB. This cough may be accompanied by the production of phlegm, sometimes mixed with blood. If you experience this, it is important to get evaluated for TB to rule out or confirm the infection.

Unexplained Weight Loss- Significant weight loss without an apparent reason can be a sign of TB. This is often accompanied by a loss of appetite. If you notice a sudden drop in your weight without changes in diet or physical activity, seeking a TB test is advisable.

Night Sweats- Experiencing drenching night sweats that soak your sheets can be an indication of TB. This symptom is particularly concerning if it occurs without other known causes such as menopause or infection with a different virus.

Fever and Chills- A low-grade fever that persists over several weeks, often accompanied by chills, can be a sign of TB. If you have a consistent fever without a known cause, it is important to consider TB testing.

Fatigue- Persistent and unexplained fatigue that does not improve with rest can be indicative of TB. This symptom, combined with others such as weight loss and night sweat, heightens the need for testing.

Chest Pain- Pain in the chest, especially when breathing deeply or coughing, is another symptom that could point towards TB. If you experience such pain, it is crucial to seek medical evaluation, including a TB test.

What Is the Best Way to Prevent the Transmission of TB?

Early Diagnosis and Treatment- Promptly identifying and treating active TB cases to reduce the spread of bacteria.

Vaccination- The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is available in many countries and offers protection against TB, especially severe forms in children.

Infection Control Measures- Ensuring proper ventilation and using protective masks in high-risk settings. Isolating infectious patients until they are no longer contagious.

Public Health Measure- Contact tracing and testing individuals who have been exposed and providing preventative therapy for people with latent TB infection.

FAQs: Tuberculosis Testing and Vaccinations

What Is the Difference between Latent and Active TB? Latent TB:
  • Definition: Latent TB infection means that the person has the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria in their body, but the bacteria are inactive and cause no symptoms.
  • Contagion: People with latent TB are not contagious and cannot spread the bacteria to others.
  • Symptoms: There are no symptoms in latent TB.
  • Diagnosis: It is usually discovered through a positive TB skin test or TB blood test.
  • Treatment: Treatment may still be recommended to prevent the development of active TB in the future.


Active TB:


  • Definition: Active TB means the bacteria are active in the body and causing symptoms.
  • Contagion: People with active TB can spread the bacteria to others, especially through coughing or sneezing.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms include a persistent cough (sometimes with blood), chest pain, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnosis involves a combination of clinical evaluation, chest X-rays, and microbiological tests (like sputum tests).
  • Treatment: Requires a course of antibiotics over several months.
What Are the Tests Used to Diagnose TB?
  1. Tuberculin Skin Test (TST):
    • Also known as the Mantoux test.
    • A small amount of tuberculin is injected into the skin of the forearm.
    • The test site is checked 48-72 hours later for a reaction.


  1. Interferon-Gamma Release Assays (IGRAs):
    • Blood tests that measure the immune response to TB bacteria.
    • Examples include the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test and T-SPOT.TB test.


  1. Chest X-ray:
    • Used to detect lung abnormalities indicative of active TB.


  1. Sputum Tests:
    • Sputum smear microscopy: Checking sputum samples under a microscope for TB bacteria.
    • Sputum culture: Growing the bacteria from sputum samples in a lab to confirm TB.
  2. Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs):
    • Rapid tests that detect TB bacteria DNA in sputum.
How Do I Know If I Have Been Vaccinated for TB?
  1. Check Medical Records:
    • Look at your childhood vaccination records or contact your healthcare provider.
  2. Look for BCG Scar:
    • The BCG vaccine often leaves a small scar on the upper arm.
  3. Ask Family Members:
    • Family members may know your vaccination history, especially if you were vaccinated as a child.
  4. TB Skin Test and Blood Tests:
    • While a positive reaction to a TB skin test might indicate vaccination or exposure to TB bacteria, IGRAs can help distinguish between the two in vaccinated individuals.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

For more information regarding TB (Tuberculosis) testing, see the following website: