Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial disease that grows and lives in the tissues of the body. TB is spread through air from person to person. Although the most common tissue for tuberculosis to attack is the lungs, it can also affect the spine, kidneys or brain.
There are two type of tuberculosis infection: Latent TB infection, and TB disease.
Latent tuberculosis infection is when bacteria is present in a person’s body but the immune system stops the bacteria from spreading, leaving a person with no symptoms, nor do they feel sick. In addition, the bacteria cannot be spread to others. However, Latent TB infection can later develop into TB disease if left untreated.
Tuberculosis Disease is contagious, and the individual will often feel sick and have symptoms such as night sweats, coughing and weight loss.
Common Tuberculosis Symptoms
- Pain in the chest
- A cough that lasts longer than three weeks
- Night sweats and/or chills
- Coughing up mucus/phlegm or blood
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
There are two types of tuberculosis testing that can be done at Midwest Express Clinic: Tuberculin Skin Test and Tuberculosis Blood Test.
What is a tuberculin skin test (TST)?
If our medical providers recommend a tuberculin skin test, they inject tuberculin using a small needle into the skin on the lower part of the arm. A small bump should appear on the arm at the time of injection. Once this is complete, you will be asked to return a couple days later to evaluate the area of injection to see if there is a reaction present.
If the test reads positive, you may be prescribed a medication which will kill the inactive bacteria in your body to prevent it from becoming active. A TB skin test is safe for persons of all ages, including pregnant women and people living with HIV.
Please note: It is important for you to let our medical providers know if you have previously been given this skin test in the past and have had a severe reaction.
What is a tuberculosis blood test?
It is as simple as it sounds! A medical professional at our clinic will collect blood samples from the patient & have them tested in a lab.
If the results of your blood test come back positive, then you should expect additional tests to be completed to determine if your diagnosis is latent or active. If you have the active tuberculosis, treatment may include long-term antibiotic prescription (up to 9 months).
If you believe you have been infected with tuberculosis, or require a TB test for school, employment, and more, please visit one of our Midwest Express Clinic urgent care locations.