Tuberculosis is a serious disease that mainly affects the lungs of humans. It is an airborne infectious disease that is affecting a huge population across the globe. Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria are responsible for this disease, and it spreads when an infected person sneezes and coughs. However, BCG could be an effective vaccine against TB but is not currently used in the US. This disease can develop in the human body without showing many symptoms. But some common TB symptoms are continuous cough, night sweats, fever, and unusual weight loss. However, the tuberculosis skin test is useful in determining if you are suffering from this disease. Let’s discover more information about this test below.
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How is a Tuberculosis test Performed?
Well, the sole purpose of a TB test is to know whether you are exposed to this bacterial infection or not. It works by measuring the immune system’s response to the killed version of M. tuberculosis. However, the test can be performed in two parts to determine the TB infection. In the first part, a small amount of sterile solution will be injected into the body. It will contain tuberculin, also formerly used in treating TB. It is a purified protein derived from Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. So, if a person is infected, the immune system will react to tuberculin. The injection will be given on the forearm and will create a round-shaped bump on the skin. In the second phase, the physician will see how tuberculin has reacted to your body. The physician will check the reaction of tuberculin on your body after 48-72 hours from injecting.
Purpose of TB testing
This test is executed to know if the TB infection is present in the body of patients. However, this test is recommended when you have possible signs and indications of tuberculosis. The test is done under medical supervision by an expert. So, you have to visit your nearest healthcare clinic to get this test done safely. During a tuberculosis skin test, your medical history will also be evaluated. All the procedures will be done to provide you with the right diagnosis for TB. Moreover, this test is useful for those with no TB symptoms. The test can benefit those with early treatment exposed to an environment that can cause this infection.
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Results of tuberculosis testing and what they mean?
Many things would need to be considered while determining test results. However, the size of the bump is the prime consideration in this regard. The result will be negative if the size of the bump is smaller than 5 millimeters. If the bump is larger than 5 mm, it could indicate a positive TB test result.
However, positive results would require further screenings to determine the factors responsible for positive results. Some important factors can affect the results of TB screening.
- If you have recently come into contact with an infected person
- If you are working in a hospital, lab, or medical facility
- If you have positively tested for past tuberculosis infection
- If you are HIV positive
- If you are using injecting drugs
However, the test results will be produced in positive or negative form. Based on the results, the physician will form the treatment plan. So, look what the test results could say about TB infection.
This would indicate that the body has been infected with tuberculosis disease. The larger size of the bump can determine the body’s sensitivity to tuberculin injection.
A negative TB test result means that body is not sensitive to tuberculin injection, and the person is unlikely to get a TB infection.
However, in some cases, the test can also deliver false positive and negative results. Therefore, the skin test for TB has adequate room for producing erroneous results. However, the chances of such occurrence are significantly low. But a physician might consider using other ways to detect an infection. They could be:
- X-rays and chest scan
- Blood test
- Sputum test
The basis on the test results, a diagnosis of TB is required. TB can indeed be fatal if left untreated. So, proper testing must be performed at a reliable medical facility.
To Sum up
You can have positive results with a tuberculosis skin test. However, it can indicate that the body is suffering from TB bacterial infection. It may also show no symptoms and might be hidden in the body. It could also be active in the body with possible symptoms. Well, TB is curable with accurate treatment, so you must get the right diagnosis from the physician.
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