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Getting Tested for Tuberculosis

​How can I get tested for Tuberculosis?
If you think that you have been exposed to someone with TB or feel you are at a higher risk of being infected contact us at the Northwestern Health Unit to discuss TB skins tests.  

What is a TB skin test?
A TB skin test or Mantoux test is a test that helps detect TB infection. A small amount of test liquid is injected under the skin of the forearm with a needle. This makes a tiny bump or “bleb” that will flatten out in approximately 15-20 minutes. Two to three days later the test site is looked at or “read”.
 
If there is any swelling at the needle site, the swelling or “induration” will be measured and a public health nurse will interpret the results. The interpretation may be influenced by the health status of the individuals as well as the reason why the test was done.
 
If you need to have a “two-step” TB skin test, it means that you have to have a second test done 1-4 weeks after the first test, providing that the first test is negative. The second test will help provide a more accurate baseline reading.
 
What does a positive TB skin test mean?
A “positive test” means that you should see your doctor for additional tests. If could mean that you have latent TB infection. It does not usually mean that you have active tuberculosis.
 
Your doctor will ask you to get a chest x-ray to look at your lungs more closely and may prescribe medication that you will have to take for 6-9 months. Remember that you can’t spread latent TB to other people.
 
How much does it cost to get a TB skin test?
TB skin tests that are medically necessary are available for free at the Northwestern Health Unit.  There is a cost of $30 per TB skin test if it is not medically necessary (i.e. required for employment, volunteering, school admission, etc.).
 
Is there a treatment for Tuberculosis?
Yes there is medication for the treatment of Tuberculosis. The Northwestern Health Unit provides free treatment for both latent TB and active TB disease.
 
Preventing Tuberculosis
If you think you may have been exposed to someone with TB or are at higher risk of becoming infected contact the Northwestern Health Unit or your family physician to discuss getting a TB skin test. If you have been prescribed medication for TB it is important to take all your medication exactly as it has been prescribed. Always cover your cough.