TB (Tuberculosis) Testing

Many employers require TB tests from their employees.

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious bacterial disease that primarily affects the lungs. It is spread from person to person through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, or even sings. Other organs may be affected as well. TB can be life-threatening if left untreated; however, it is treatable with antibiotics and other treatments.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about one-third of the world's population is infected with TB and new cases continue to emerge. Symptoms may include a persistent cough, weight loss, night sweats, fever, fatigue, and chest pain. Treatment with antibiotics may take up to six months or more to completely eradicate the infection. Treatment with multiple drugs is typically recommended to prevent drug resistance. Additionally, preventive measures such as vaccinations and contact tracing can help reduce the spread of the disease. If you think you may have TB, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. With proper treatment and prevention, TB can be controlled.

Who needs to be tested?

Tuberculosis can infect anyone, but some professions have a higher risk of exposure to the bacteria that causes TB. Jobs that involve frequent interaction with people or environments that are more likely to harbor TB bacteria include healthcare workers, educators, laboratory technicians, correctional facility staff, homeless shelter workers, and those who work in areas with high TB rates.

What are the testing options?

  • TB Skin test: A TB skin test is a way to check if someone has tuberculosis. A doctor or nurse will give you an injection of small amounts of liquid under the skin on your arm. Then they will look at that area two days later to see if there is a reaction, which means you might have TB. This test is usually covered by health insurance and requires two office visits to complete.
  • QuantiFERON-TB Gold Test: QuantiFERON-TB Gold Test (QFT) is a useful alternative to a traditional TB test. It is a highly sensitive test that detects the presence of tuberculosis, and is not influenced by the BCG vaccine. After your QuantiFERON-TB Gold Test for tuberculosis at Prognify Urgent Care, results are typically available in just a few days. Unlike a TB skin test, this blood test requires only one clinic visit, but it is not always covered by health insurance.

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