Tuberculosis FAQ

Tuberculosis Treatment

Tuberculosis Testing

What tests are used to screen for tuberculosis?

There are two types of tests to screen for TB infection—a skin test or blood tests.

TB Skin Test Also called the Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST), the skin test requires two visits to your health care provider. During the first visit, your provider will conduct the test. During a follow-up visit two to three days later, your provider will conduct an examination to determine the results of your skin test.

TB Blood Test There are two blood tests available in the U.S.—the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) and the T-SPOT TB test (T-Spot). Blood tests are especially useful for testing individuals born outside of the U.S. in a country where TB is more common. In some parts of the world, individuals receive a vaccine that helps to prevent TB infection which can result in a false positive skin test.

What does a “positive” TB test mean?

A “positive” test means that the person screened has been infected with the TB bacteria Any individual with a “positive” TB test needs to have a chest x-ray and possibly sputum (saliva and mucus) collection to confirm latent TB infection or TB disease.

Is it safe to be screened for TB during pregnancy?

Yes. A TB skin test and the TB blood test are safe to use while pregnant. If either test is positive, a chest x-ray should be done to rule out TB disease.

TB Infection

Can latent TB infection and active TB disease be treated?

Latent TB infection can be treated by killing the bacteria in an individual’s body to prevent TB disease from developing. Treatment is managed through an individual’s primary care clinic (the Spokane Regional Health District TB Program does not provide treatment).

Active TB disease is treated with a combination of antibiotics that target tuberculosis bacteria. Individuals in Spokane county diagnosed with active TB disease will receive treatment-related guidance and support from Spokane Regional Health District TB Program staff.

Should someone with latent TB infection stay home from work or school?

No. Any individual diagnosed with latent TB infection can be at school or work. They are not infectious to those around them.

Next Steps

What should I do if I believe I was exposed to TB disease?

Contact your primary care clinic and schedule an appointment to be screened for TB.

Tuberculosis Treatment for Health Care Providers
Tuberculosis Treatment for Health Care Providers

Working with providers on the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases, illnesses and other factors relating to health.

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