Tuberculosis is a bacteria-caused pulmonary infection that is spread through the air when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. This type of person-to-person contact can expose an individual to the disease, but exposure does not always mean he or she will show symptoms. Those infected with TB bacteria are not always visibly sick, but they may still need treatment to prevent the disease from developing in the future. If the infection does become active, the infected person will then become contagious and exhibit symptoms including a bad cough, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, fatigue, weight loss and fever.
The best way to identify tuberculosis infection, both latent and active, is through TB testing.
Do You Need a TB Test?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, tuberculosis testing is generally not needed for people with a low risk of infection with the TB bacteria. However, certain people should get a tuberculosis test because they are more likely to get TB or be exposed to the bacteria, and this group includes:
- People who have spent time with someone who has TB
- People who have spent significant time in countries where TB is common
- People who exhibit TB-like symptoms
- People who live or work in areas (domestically and internationally) where TB is common
- People who may be required to be tested by their employers
- People who are are required to be tested by their medical school, nursing programs, clinical programs , and more.
What types of TB tests exist?
Generally people get tested with either a TB skin test or a TB blood test. If either test is positive, a person needs to get a chest x-ray to make sure that active tuberculosis is not found in the lungs. LabReqs provides the ability to order all three testing options online.