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?
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 mainly 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. The test is also recommended as part of a workup for individuals who have symptoms that can possibly be related to tuberculosis including prolonged cough, weakness, weight loss, fever and/or night sweats.
You should not have this test done if you have ever had a positive skin test in the past.
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.
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.
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: