Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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Tuberculosis (TB) Diagnosis

Tuberculosis skin test facts

  • The tuberculosis skin test is also known as the tuberculin test or PPD test.
  • The PPD test is used to determine if someone has developed an immune response to the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB).
  • The standard recommended tuberculin test is the Mantoux test, which is administered by injecting a 0.1 mL volume containing 5 TU (tuberculin units) PPD into the top layers of skin of the forearm.
  • Skin tests should be read 48-72 hours after the injection.
  • ....

Tuberculosis (TB) facts

  • TB is an infectious disease that's transmitted from person to person.
  • There are many different types of TB.
  • A bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, causes the disease.
  • There are many risk factors for TB. Clinical symptoms and signs of pulmonary TB include fever, night sweats, cough, hemoptysis (coughing up blood-stained sputum), weight loss, fatigue, and chest pain.
  • Physicians definitively diagnose TB by culturing mycobacteria from sputum or biopsy specimens, but health-care professionals presumptively diagnose TB by history, physical exam, skin testing, and chest X-rays.
  • Treatment of TB infection is related to the type of TB infection and often requires extended treatments (months) with one or more anti-TB drugs.
  • Complications of TB range from none to death and include lung, kidney, and liver problems that can be severe.
  • The prognosis for appropriately treated TB infection is good. The prognosis declines in people who develop complications or who have had previous TB treatments.
  • Prevention of TB involves both early treatment to reduce transmission and isolation of the infected person until they are no longer contagious. There is a vaccine against TB, but it is not used routinely in the U.S. because of efficacy issues and other problems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2014
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