PPD Skin Test and QuantiFERON TB Blood Screening
TB Testing is an important part of many employee compliance exams. Depending on the job function and industry, workers may be required to receive a TB check during the pre-employment process and every year as an annual exam. Mobile Health offers two ways of testing for tuberculosis, PPD skin tests and QuantiFERONs.
Most times a tuberculosis test is required for health care workers, home care aides, schools, case workers, and other employees who work with large or vulnerable health populations.
Mobile Health offers individual testing and corporate accounts to help employers manage their employee compliance requirements.
Tuberculosis (TB) is bacterial (mycobacterium tuberculosis) infection that travels through the bloodstream and lymph nodes to organs – typically the lungs. TB which is not become symptomatic or contagious is known as latent TB, but it can become active and be very dangerous among populations with weakened immune systems.
Tuberculosis is airborne and highly contagious. For this reason, TB tests are a requirement for occupations working with large groups of people or people with weakened immune systems.
Mobile Health offers two methods of testing for tuberculosis, a PPD implant and a QuantiFERON blood test. The PPD skin test is also known as a Mantoux test.
A PPD test consists of the patient receiving a shot under the top layer of skin on their forearm. The PPD implant contains Tuberculosis antigens called purified protein derivatives (PPD) – if the patient has been exposed to the tuberculosis bacteria, a firm red bump will develop at the point of the injection within two days.
A PPD implant is typically the most cost-effective tuberculosis test. Read more about the PPD test here.
A QuantiFERON tuberculosis test is an alternative to the PPD implant method. QuantiFERON is simply a blood test approved to diagnose latent of active tuberculosis in a patient. Read more about the QuantiFERON TB test here.
The most common form of TB testing is through the Mantoux skin PPD test. The PPD generally has a lower cost, is more accessible, and has been used for nearly 100 years around the world. And since the test does not require a laboratory, testing can be performed in more remote locations.
Although more affordable, the PPD test is more susceptible to an incorrect positive result. There are two main reasons for a false positive PPD test result:
– Individuals who received a TB vaccine called bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) will almost always test positive with a PPD skin test, and they will require a follow-up chest x-ray or QuantiFERON blood test for confirmation. If this is a case of a patient, Mobile Health will recommend an alternative to the PPD TB test to avoid additional procedures.
– Individuals who have latent tuberculosis will also test positive for a PPD skin test. Latent tuberculosis is not considered dangerous or contagious, but will report a positive result with the PPD Mantoux test. Just like recipients of the BCG vaccine, Mobile Health will recommend that they do not receive a PPD due to the possible false positive.
Those who always has a false positive PPD result can request a Tuberculosis Screening Questionnaire instead which is an alternative to another PPD with follow-up chest x-ray.
The PPD test also take 48-72 hours and requires at least two visits to complete. This may delay a candidate’s employment start date and cause travel inconveniences. A QuantiFERON instead is performed in one visit and analyzed by a laboratory to rule out false positives.
QuantiFERON is a blood draw exam in aid of diagnosing tuberculosis. Though a bit more expensive that PPDs, QuantiFERONs have the advantage of only requiring one office visit and virtually eliminating the possibility of a false positive which helps get workers compliant faster. The test is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with adult patients.
In cases of positive TB test results, it is important to have a follow-up chest x-ray for visual confirmation. Both PPD testing and QuantiFERON blood tests are industry standard testing for TB screening, but false positives are possible and the only way to confirm active tuberculosis in a patient is through a chest x-ray.
Chest x-rays are available to all patients who have a positive PPD skin test or QuantiFERON test result at Mobile Health.
Due to the type of test, a PPD test result is more likely to return a false positive compared to a QuantiFERON test. At all times, Mobile Health recommended the QuantiFERON TB blood test for a more accurate result.
Health care workers, home health aides, laboratory workers, and teachers are some of the most common occupations where a tuberculosis test is required for employment.
Mobile Health has several locations offering TB testing nationwide. Many are located near major cities and in central downtown locations, with easy access to by car or mass transit. Depending on the location, TB testing options can include: PPD skin test, QuantiFERON blood test, Chest X-Ray, Tuberculosis Screening Questionnaire.