Tuberculosis Testing/Follow Up
As our world has become “smaller” and more people are traveling internationally or moving to our community from other countries, we have begun to see an increase in people with latent tuberculosis (infection without disease) and active tuberculosis (disease). One way to monitor this and prevent an increase in active tuberculosis in future years is to have a tuberculosis skin test. Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care offers tuberculosis skin test during office hours on every day except Thursday. TB skin testing will require the individual to return to our office in 48 to 72 hours to have their test read. If the test is positive, additional testing will be needed to rule out tuberculosis disease. Latent tuberculosis cases are managed through our office while they receive medication to prevent them from developing tuberculosis disease. Active tuberculosis cases are also managed through our office and may require a “stay at home” until they become noninfectious and they also receive medications which will cure tuberculosis.
Please call us at 712-749-2548 regarding any tuberculosis questions or to get screened. There is a minimal fee for the tuberculosis skin test.
TUBERCULOSIS: Get the Facts!
What is Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs. The germs are put into the air when a person with TB of the lung coughs, sneezes, laughs, or sings. TB can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.
What are the symptoms of TB? General symptoms may include feeling weak or sick, weight loss, fever, and/or night sweats. Symptoms of TB of the lungs may include cough, chest pain, and/or coughing up blood. Other symptoms depend on the particular part of the body that is affected.
No one gets TB anymore, do they? YES! About 8 million new cases occur each year in the world; over 22,000 cases occur each year in the United States. There are also an estimated 10 to 15 million people in the U.S. who are infected with the TB germ, with potential to develop TB disease in the future.
Who gets TB? Anyone can get TB, but some people are at higher risk. Those at higher risk include:
- People who share the same breathing space
- Poor people
- Homeless people
- Foreign-born people from countries where a lot of people have TB
- Nursing home residents
- Alcoholics and intravenous drug users
- People with medical conditions such as diabetes, certain types of cancers, and being underweight, and especially
- People with HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS).
How can I tell if I have TB? First, get a TB skin test. If it is positive, you will probably be given other tests to see if you have TB infection or TB disease.
What is the difference between TB infection and TB disease? People with TB disease are sick from germs that are active in their body. They usually have one or more of the symptoms of TB. These people are often capable of giving the infection to others. Permanent body damage and death can result from this disease. Medicines which can cure TB are prescribed for these people.
People with TB infection (without disease) have the germ that causes TB in their body. They are not sick because the germ lies inactive in their body. They cannot spread the germ to others. However, these people may develop TB disease in the future, especially if they are in one of the high risk groups listed under “Who gets TB?” Medicine is often prescribed for these people to prevent them from developing TB disease.
Where can I get a TB skin test? You can get a TB skin test from Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care, your local health department or doctor’s office.