|TESTING, TREATMENT SEEK TO END TB
While many consider tuberculosis (TB) a concern for people outside the United States, it’s estimated that up to 13 million Americans are infected with the disease.
Two Types of TB
St. Charles County’s Communicable Disease Program Manager Samantha VanNatta reminds us that there are two forms of tuberculosis, latent and active infection. Latent infection is a condition in which a person is infected with TB bacteria but is not showing symptoms or able to spread the bacteria to others. A person with active TB disease displays symptoms — including a lasting bad cough, coughing up blood, weakness, unexplained weight loss and night sweats — and can spread the bacteria by coughing or speaking.
Testing Confirms Exposure
VanNatta’s team of epidemiologists and nurses track the potential for infectious disease activity in St. Charles County and encourage testing as the best way to confirm a possible TB exposure. For those who test positive for TB infection, the disease can be cured with dedicated medical treatment.
The Health Services Clinic, located at 1650 Boone’s Lick Road in St. Charles, offers two testing options:
Tuberculosis tests are offered by appointment between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Health Services Clinic. Appointments are not required for PPD skin tests, but they are not conducted on Thursdays due to the follow-up assessment requirement. For information, please call 636-949-7484.
- PPD Skin Test – This test indicates if a person has been exposed to or infected with TB bacteria. To administer the test, a nurse injects a small amount of testing solution under the skin of the arm to form a wheal. The individual must return to the site of the clinic within 48 to 72 hours to have the testing site assessed.
- QuantiFERON® Gold Blood Test – This laboratory test requires a blood draw and is recommended for individuals who have received the Bacille-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination previously, have had a positive PPD test in the past, or are deemed to be at “high risk” for the disease. Results do not need to be re-assessed in person at the testing site, but the individual should follow-up with a medical provider.
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