08 February 2011

Diagnosing TB

The diagnosis of TB is not always easy to make and a lot of research is being done to find tests that are more reliable or quicker than the currently available tests.

You should get tested for TB if you:

  • Have spent time with someone with infectious TB
  • Have HIV infection or another condition that puts you at high risk for TB disease
  • Think you might have TB disease
  • Are from a country where TB disease is very common i.e. Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia (excluding Japan)
  • Inject drugs
  • Live where TB disease is common (homeless shelters, hostels, prisons, some nursing homes)

You are told within three days whether the test reaction was positive. A small lump at the injection site is a positive reaction and usually indicates TB infection. However, remember that infection with TB does not necessarily mean you have active, infectious TB. Most people with positive tuberculin tests do not have active TB.


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