Testing and Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

download (32)There are mainly two types of tests conducted to diagnose the bacteria of Tuberculosis (TB) in a person – the TB skin test (TST) and TB blood test. While it is suggested that a person with symptoms of tuberculosis must opt for both the tests, a blood test is considered to be a more accurate and painless one.

QuantiFERON – TB Gold Test (QFT – G) is a whole blood test that aids in the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, in addition to tuberculosis disease and latent tuberculosis infection. A pathologist draws a few ml of blood from the patient’s vein and sends it to the laboratory for analysis and results.

In case of a positive report, it means that a person has been infected with the bacteria of TB. Add-on tests may be suggested to determine the depth of disease. On the other hand, in case of a negative report, it means that a person’s blood did not react to the test and that he/she is not prone to the disease.

Advantages of using a QuantiFERON – TB Gold Test are as follows:-

  • It requires only one visit.
  • Results are available sooner in comparison to the TB skin test (TST).
  • Results are more accurate and specific.
  • Results are readily available in EPIC.
  • It does not boost any responses measured by subsequent tests.
  • Prior BCG vaccination does not pose any false-positive results.
  • The test is covered by all major insurance policies.

Disadvantages of using QuantiFERON – TB Gold Test are as follows:-

  • The blood sample collected must be examined within 12-16 hours of the collection while the WBCs are still viable.
  • There is limited data available on use of this test for:-
  1. People who have been recently exposed to M. Tuberculosis,
  2. Serial Testing,
  3. Immunocompromised people, and
  4. Children below the age of 5 years.

Diagnosis of Latent TB Infection

A person is diagnosed with a latent TB infection in case of a positive test results, and the medical evaluation does not indicate a TB disease. The treatment of this infection majorly depends on the person’s chances of developing the TB disease in mere future by considering all the risk factors.

Diagnosis of TB Disease

A TB disease is typically diagnosed by taking into consideration the medical history of the person along with a physical examination, chest x-ray, and other essential lab tests. A proper course of treatment is suggested to a patient suffering from this disease under the supervision of a specialist.

Symptoms of TB Disease are as follows:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing for more than 3 weeks

The author is an avid writer with expansive experience in the field of content writing. She has immensely contributed to the world wide web with her enlightening articles related to the healthcare industry, such as quantiferon TB gold test, kidney functionality, cardiovascular disease and much more. She hails from a journalistic background and has a Master’s degree in Media Management.