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Tuberculosis Test in Los Angeles, CA

What is a tuberculosis (TB) screening?

TB Testing at Nobility Health

A tuberculosis screening test checks to see if you have the bacteria (germs) that cause tuberculosis (TB) in your body. TB is a bacterial infection that mainly attacks the lungs. But it can also affect other parts of the body, including the brain, spine, and kidneys. TB spreads from person to person when a someone who is sick with TB coughs or sneezes.

TB germs cause two types of conditions

TB Testing at Nobility Health

  • Latent TB infection happens when you have TB germs in your body, but you're not sick because the germs aren't active. You don't have symptoms and you can't spread the disease to others. But the germs could start to grow (multiply) and make you sick in the future. So, latent TB infection is usually treated to prevent you from getting sick with active TB.
  • Active TB disease means that TB germs are actively growing in your body and making you sick. If TB germs grow in your lungs or throat, you can spread the disease to other people. TB disease can almost always be cured with antibiotics. But without treatment, it can cause serious illness or even death.

A TB screening test checks to see if you have TB germs in your body. But it can't show whether you have a latent TB infection or active TB disease. If a TB screening test finds signs of TB germs, you'll need other tests to find out which type of TB you have so you can get the right treatment.

There are two types of TB tests used for screening: a TB skin test and a TB blood test. At Nobility Health we will perform a TB Blood test.

Other names: TB test, TB skin test, purified protein derivative (PPD) test, latent TB infection test, Mantoux tuberculin skin test; IGRA test, TB blood test

What is it used for?

A Tb is used to help diagnose

TB screening is used to look for signs of TB germs in people who have been exposed to someone with active TB disease or who have a high risk of exposure. The screening can show whether you have TB germs in your body and need more testing. It does not show if you have a latent infection or active disease.

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Why do I need a TB screening?

You may need a TB skin test or TB blood test if you were exposed to someone with active TB disease or if you have a high risk of exposure.

Your risk of exposure is higher if you:

  • Are a health care worker
  • Work or live in a place where TB is more common, such as jails, nursing homes, and shelters for people without homes
  • Were born in or often travel to countries where TB disease is common

You may need a TB screening test if have symptoms of active TB disease, including:

  • A cough that lasts longer than three weeks
  • Coughing up blood or sputum (a thick mucus from the lungs)
  • Chest pain
  • Night sweats (heavy sweating during sleep)
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness or fatigue

You may need a TB screening test if have symptoms of active TB disease, including:

  • HIV or another disease that weakens your immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Having an organ transplant
  • Use of illegal drugs that are injected with needles

Tuberculosis Test Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during a TB screening?

Blood tests for TB are becoming more common.

For a TB test in blood (also called an IGRA test), a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don't need any special preparations a TB blood test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a TB blood test.

For a blood test, you may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

Your TB blood test results will usually be positive or negative.

A positive result means that you have been infected with TB bacteria. You will need more tests to find out if you have a latent TB infection or TB disease. These tests may include a chest x-ray or a sputum culture. If you had a positive result on a TB skin test, you may have a TB blood test to confirm the result.

A negative result means that your skin or blood did not react to the test. You are unlikely to have a latent TB infection or TB disease. But you may still need more testing if you:

  • Have symptoms of TB
  • Were tested sooner than six to eight weeks after an exposure to TB
  • Have HIV
  • Had a TB skin test after being around someone with TB disease

Sometimes a TB blood test result will be "borderline," which means the test could not show for sure whether you have a TB infection. If this happens, you will likely be tested again.

Overall TB blood tests are more accurate than TB skin tests. Your provider will consider whether anything about your health history might affect the accuracy of your test results.

If you have questions about your results, talk with your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a TB screening?

Both active TB disease and latent TB infections should be treated. The treatment for both conditions is antibiotics. To make sure you get rid of all the TB germs in your body, you'll need to follow the directions for taking your medicine. Treatment may last a few months to a year. Stopping treatment too soon can cause the infection to come back and make it harder to treat.

With your health and time in mind, we want to provide a fast and accurate testing experience to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Nobility Health eliminates the laboratory middleman to provide faster, more efficient results. Contact us today to learn how we can help you, your school, and your business control the transmission of COVID-19