7/15/2019 ALERT: There is currently a shortage of TB skin testing serum.
Who Should Get Tested for TB?
TB tests are generally not needed for people with a low risk of infection with TB bacteria.
Certain people should be tested for TB bacteria because they are more likely to get TB disease, including:
- People who have spent time with someone who has TB disease
- People with HIV infection or another medical problem that weakens the immune system
- People who have symptoms of TB disease (fever, night sweats, cough, and weight loss)
- People from a country where TB disease is common (most countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia)
- People who live or work somewhere in the United States where TB disease is more common (homeless shelters, prison or jails, or some nursing homes)
- People who use illegal drugs
Van Buren Cass District Health Department currently has the opportunity to do a blood test (QuantiFERON-TB Gold) which is another alternative to screen for tuberculosis. The cost is $50.00.
What is TB?
“TB” is short for a disease called tuberculosis. TB is spread through the air from one person to another. TB germs are passed through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, laughs, sings, or sneezes. Anyone near the sick person with TB disease can breathe TB germs into their lungs.
TB germs can live in your body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection. This means you have only inactive (sleeping) TB germs in your body. The inactive germs cannot be passed on to anyone else. However, if these germs wake up or become active in your body and multiply, you will get sick with TB disease.
When TB germs are active (multiplying in your body), this is called TB disease. These germs usually attack the lungs. They can also attack other parts of the body, such as, the kidneys, brain, or spine. TB disease will make you sick. People with TB disease may spread the germs to people they spend time with every day.
How do I know if I have been infected with TB germs?
If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go to your doctor or your local health department for tests. There are two tests that can be used to help detect TB infection: a TB skin test or a TB blood test.
The skin test is used most often. A small needle is used to put some testing material, called tuberculin, under the skin. In 2-3 days, you return to the health care worker who will check to see if there is a reaction to the test.
In some cases, a TB blood test is used to test for TB infection. This blood test measures how a person’s immune system reacts to the germs that cause TB. To tell if someone has TB disease, other tests such as chest x-ray and a sample of sputum (phlegm that is coughed up from deep in the lungs) may be needed.
Tell your health care worker if you have ever had a “positive” reaction to a TB skin test or TB blood test, or if you have been treated with TB drugs in the past.
How can I get a TB Skin test?
Please Review the Who Should Get Tested for TB statement above. If you are eligible for testing, please call the office at 269-740-4155 to speak with a nurse BEFORE coming to confirm testing availability.
TB Skin Testing Involves 2 Visits; the test is administered at the clinic and you MUST return to the clinic to have it read.
Dowagiac Office Testing
Tests Administered — Monday: 9-11 am and 1-4 pm
Tests Read — Wednesday: 9-11 am and 1-4 pm
Appointment not necessary, however we ask that you call to confirm staff availability.
Location information and map
Hartford Office Testing
Tests Administered — Monday: 9-11 am and 1-4 pm and Tuesday: 9-11 am and 1-4 pm
Tests Read — Thursday: 9-11 am and 1-4 pm
No appointment necessary
Tuberculosis Skin Testing fee: $15.00.
Tuberculosis blood test (QuantiFERON-TB Gold) testing fee: $50.00.
Many other services are provided free. Please ask the Public Health nurse or our Receptionist regarding the charges for specific services.
Health Care Providers: Please note UPDATED RECOMMENDATIONS for screening Health Care Personnel for tuberculosis.
Patient Education Resources