Frequently Asked Questions for Providers

TB Screening Tests

  • TB Skin Test (TST, formerly known as a PPD)
    • Tubersol or Aplisol can be purchased through your medical supply chain.
    • Ten or 50 dose vials, once opened must be used within 28 days.
    • Requires skill to apply intradermally and read results properly.
    • Patient must have two office visits. o Sensitive test and inexpensive.
  • Blood Assay for Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
    • Excellent choice for screening persons who may have received BCG vaccination (does NOT react to M. bovis BCG, only M. tuberculosis).
    • Check to see if covered by insurance, otherwise the test can be expensive.
    • Sensitive and specific for M. tuberculosis.
      • QuantiFeron TB Gold In Tube®
        • Requires special tubes obtained from lab that will perform testing.
      •  T-Spot TB® www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/factsheets/testing/IGRA.pdf
        • Requires a contract with Oxford Diagnostic Laboratories.

Positive Screening Results

  •  Send for a two view (PA and lateral) CXR.
  • If you have questions about the results of the test or CXR, hold the treatment until you call:
    • Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department TB Program (253) 798-6410.
    • Our TB Medical Consultant, Dr Lawrence Schwartz (253) 428-8700.

Treatment of Latent TB Infection

Do You Suspect Active Tuberculosis?

  • This is reportable within 24 hours to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (253) 798-6410.
  • If you decide to order sputum cultures for TB, read Order Sputum AFB for Providers first.
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department can:
    • Facilitate sputum specimen testing by the Washington State Public Health Laboratory in Shoreline.
    • Arrange for patient consultation with our TB Infectious Disease specialist.

Assessing Your Agency or Facility for TB Screening Needs

Contact the Tuberculosis Program for more information (253) 798-6410

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