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Honored Contributor
Posts: 30,948
Registered: ‎08-23-2010

 

First, I'm asking this because it's Saturday morning, and I can't call my MD's office until Monday, which I plan to do.

 

 

I have a new Rheumatologist and he requested the usual blood tests for a new patient.    Two of the tests are questionable (for me).  

 

First, a thyroid test was on the list.  The lab told me that while every other test would not have any co-pay, the thyroid test probably wouldn't be paid for ... and would cost me about $130.  I told her to do it anyway, speed was important to me, as I'm awaiting prescriptions written based on lab results.   Just do it.

 

So, the test results were finally processed .... and one was missing.  They did everything but the TB test, and no one could tell me why.

 

So I was back at the lab yesterday for my appointment, and after an hour's wait was told that I would have to come back next week.  The reason given was that this TB test is a "special" test requiring special handling, using a specific vial and then it must be FedExed immediately to wherever it will be processed.   

 

Here's what I don't understand .... like most of us, I've been walking around with a mask on everywhere, keeping my distance, etc etc etc.   What is the likelihood I would have caught TB ... anywhere?   If I had caught TB somewhere, wouldn't I feel sick? 

 

Is the TB test just a common, routine test these days?   Maybe the MD is just being thorough, but this seems a tad excessive to me.

 

Can anyone here give me some feedback on this?  What are your thoughts?  TIA!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 964
Registered: ‎03-15-2021

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

[ Edited ]

I am not familiar with a TB test being given routinely. It does seem unusual. Could it need to be ruled out before specific treatments could be used?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,735
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

@Tinkrbl44 

 

DH has Crohn's disease and receives Remicade infusions 4 x a year and once a year he has to have a TB test before he receives the infusion.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,639
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

As a hospital employee who was not a caregiver to patients, I was tested for TB on a regular basis.   

Based on what you've said, I would think having a negative TB test is more for safe documentation to whatever medication you are likely to be prescribed, NOT that you may be infected, or a carrier.    

Honored Contributor
Posts: 24,920
Registered: ‎05-22-2016

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

[ Edited ]

Unless things have changed, TB tests are done by doing a skin test with a poke to the inner-lower-arm with a small amount of fluid (tuberculin). Then you go back 48-72 hours after to have the injection site looked at for a reaction (red spot of a certain size) to determine if you have been exposed to the tuberculosis bacteria. 

 

TB infections have been on the rise and is more common in certain areas of the US. 

 

ETA - The FDA approved a blood test for TB in 2001 and it is more accurate than a skin test plus you don't need to go back to have it checked like you do with a skin test. 

 

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5202a2.htm

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,797
Registered: ‎02-02-2015

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

People who work in the local school district are required to have a TB test every four years. Don't know why, but they do.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 964
Registered: ‎03-15-2021

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?


@World Traveler wrote:

People who work in the local school district are required to have a TB test every four years. Don't know why, but they do.


When I was in school we got a mass testing for all students, but I can't remember if it was certain grade levels or everyone. We had to wait some amount of time, and then they came back and read our arms for results.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,735
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?


@SilleeMee wrote:

Unless things have changed, TB tests are done by doing a skin test with a poke to the inner-lower-arm with a small amount of fluid (tuberculin). Then you go back 48-72 hours after to have the injection site looked at for a reaction (red spot of a certain size) to determine if you have been exposed to the tuberculosis bacteria. 

 

TB infections have been on the rise and is more common in certain areas of the US. 


Yes, that is the TB test that DH receives before his treatment for Crohn's disease.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 24,920
Registered: ‎05-22-2016

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

TB can lay dormant in your body for an undetermined amount of time during which you will have no symptoms or sickness but will test positive with a TB test. Dormant TB infection is called latent TB infection which is not infectious...you can't give it to someone else. Latent infections have the potential to become infectious when the infected person develops a weakened immune system. That can happen years after the primary infection.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 51,323
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: HOW COMMON IS TB TESTING?

Its a commonly routine test in many instances.  I had to have one while I was in a rehab facility after knee replacement surgery.  When I worked in a public office, the employees were exposed to a client who tested positive for TB.  Everyone had the option of being tested. 

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