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Tuberculosis Screening: An Overview


Tuberculosis or TB is a contagious and infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. When left untreated, TB can spread to other parts of the body, including the brain and spine. An infected person can spread TB bacteria through the air when they cough, speak, or sneeze with other people nearby. Medical diagnostic services can determine when a person has been infected.

So, how is tuberculosis diagnosed?
There are two types of tests that can determine when a person has TB bacteria: the TB blood tests and the tuberculin skin test. The TB blood test is also referred to as an Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA). The IGRA test measures how well an infected person’s immune system reacts to the bacteria by testing a blood sample in the laboratory.

Meanwhile, the Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) checks if a person has been infected. A health care provider uses a small needle and injects the tuberculin into the lower part of the arm. After 2-3 days, a health care professional looks for a reaction in the arm where the liquid was injected. Swelling or a raised, hard area indicates a positive test result, although additional tests are needed to diagnose TB disease or a latent TB infection.

Who should get tested for tuberculosis?
A person who spent time with someone else who has TB should get tested. This includes people who live or work in high-risk settings, such as nursing homes. Infants to adolescents who have been exposed to adults with TB should also get tested through laboratory services in Albany, GA.

IK Medical Diagnostic Services is a provider of pre-employment screening services in Georgia. As part of our services, we offer TB testing that can be charged to insurance or paid out-of-pocket. Contact us for more information.

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