TUBERCULOSIS SKIN TESTING
Who needs to get a TB skin test?
Healthcare professionals (Your employer will tell you if you need a skin test)
Students or employees entering a day care, pre-school, college or university where a TB skin test is needed for admission or continuation in a program
Those attempting to meet admission requirements to a long-term care facility
Those attempting to meet immigration/emigration requirements
Clients who need the testing as part of an medical assessment or as part of a treatment plan
What is this test for?
To determine if you have or have ever had TB, or if you have been exposed to the bacteria that causes TB
So how does it work?
We make two appointments 48-72 hours apart
At the first meeting a registered nurse will inject a drop of fluid containing the protein ‘tuberculin’ just under the skin on your arm
The second appointment will determine if it has caused a reaction
A test is “positive” if there is a specific reaction at the injection site, of a certain diameter that has to be measured correctly within the 48-72 hour period
This may mean you have been exposed to TB at some point in your life
If you had the BCG vaccine for TB in childhood you may get a false positive result
What happens next?
If you test negative we fill out your paperwork, give it the TMVC stamp of approval and send you on your way
If your test is a true positive, we send you for a chest x-ray and arrange for further assessment as to whether any further action is required
This may include treatment if indicated
What else do you do?
Depending on the employer or school requisition we may also:
Review your vaccination history
Provide any necessary shots
Order blood work to determine your immune status for some diseases if you need to do this
Provide documentation if you need proof of immunization
How much does the skin test cost?
The TB skin test costs $70 including the certificate you need to show
What do I need to bring?
Paperwork issued by your employer school or other facility
Your vaccination history if you have it
Your BC Care card, if you have one
Do you do other types of tests?
We provide a full range of occupational vaccines including measles mumps rubella (MMR) polio chickenpox tetanus and flu
What about testing for large groups?
For groups of 10 or more we will send a registered nurse to your location to undertake the TB test
We provide this service at all 17 of our province-wide clinics
What if I don't have my vaccination records?
If you can’t locate them we can usually figure out what you will have had based on what you tell us including where and when you were born
Sometimes we can request lab work to see if you have immunity but many vaccines can’t be tested for in this way