Tuberculosis (TB) is a very dangerous infection, caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. While most infections remain latent and dormant, about 10-percent of all TB infections will progress to “active Tuberculosis” which kills about half of all infected people, if left untreated.
Because of this, it’s important to get tuberculosis testing from UrgentMED right away if you think you have the disease. Early identification and treatment are both critical for the best patient outcomes.
What Is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an incredibly common disease. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population is infected with the bacteria that causes the illness. However, it’s much less common in developed areas of the world, such as the United States.
This infectious disease affects the lungs as well as other parts of the body, and it spreads easily through sneezing, speaking, coughing, or spitting. To treat the disease, a medical professional must typically administer a variety of different antibiotic medications. A vaccine is also available and used in some areas where the risk of TB infection is high.
The Tuberculosis Testing Process
There are two basic types of tuberculosis test:
- Skin Test (PPD test) – PPD skin tests are fast and minimally-invasive. First, your doctor or nurse will swab your arm with alcohol, to kill any surface bacteria. Then, they inject a small shot containing PPD (Purified Protein Derivative). A small welt will form, but disappear in a few hours.
After 48-72 hours, you’ll return to the doctor’s office, and the nurse or doctor will check your arm to see if you have reacted to the PPD. If the area is not swollen, your results are likely negative. If the area is very swollen, the results are likely to be positive for TB.
- Blood Test – In this test, a doctor or nurse draws a small amount of blood from your arm, and then send it to a laboratory for analysis.
Typically, you’ll only need one of these tests. Your doctor at UrgentMED will decide which is appropriate for you, based on a variety of factors.
Is a Tuberculosis Test Needed Even If Symptoms Aren’t Present?
If you do not have any symptoms of TB, you may still need TB testing if:
- You have HIV/AIDS
- You use an IV-based drug
- You have had contact with another person who has TB
- You have come home from a trip to a country with high rates of TB infection (India, China, Indonesia, The Philippines)
- You are a health care worker, treating people with a high risk of TB
If you conform to these risk factors, you should get tested right away.
Visit an UrgentMED Clinic For Your TB Test
At UrgentMED, we have various walk-in facilities all throughout Los Angeles and Southern California. With short wait times, affordable TB testing, and experienced medical professionals on-site, we’re the best choice for tuberculosis testing. Visit our website now to learn more, or come to one of our convenient locations for testing today.