TB Test by PPD & QuantiFERON (QFT)

Pre-employment and annual tb tests for employees

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PPD Skin Test and QuantiFERON (QFT) Blood Screening

TB Test PPD QFT Mobile Health

TB Test is an important part of many employee compliance exams. Depending on the job function and industry, workers may be required to receive a tuberculosis check during the pre-employment process and every year as an annual exam. Mobile Health offers two ways to administer the TB Test, the PPD skin test and the QuantiFERONs (QFT) blood screen.

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A tuberculosis test is often required for health care workers, home care aides, schools, caseworkers, and other employees who work with large or vulnerable health populations.

Mobile Health offers individual testing as well as corporate accounts to help employers manage their employee compliance requirements.

TB Test Information

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial (mycobacterium tuberculosis) infection that travels through the bloodstream and lymph nodes to organs – typically the lungs. If a person is asymptomatic, then it is referred to as latent tuberculosis.  The infection can become active and be very dangerous among populations with weakened immune systems.

Tuberculosis is airborne and highly contagious. For this reason, a TB test is a requirement for occupations working with large groups of people or communities with weakened immune systems.

How is a TB test done?

Mobile Health offers two methods of testing for tuberculosis, a PPD implant and, a QuantiFERON blood 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.

The PPD skin test is also known as a Mantoux test.  Read more about the PPD test here.

A QuantiFERON tuberculosis test (QFT) 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 QFT test typically only requires one visit to a clinic.

PPD Testing

The most common form of TB testing is through the Mantoux skin PPD test. This type of tuberculosis test has been used for nearly 100 years around the world.

The Mantoux skin PPD test is more susceptible to an incorrect positive result. Two primary reasons for a false positive PPD test result include:

  1. Individuals who received a TB vaccine called the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), will almost always test positive with a PPD skin test, and they will require a follow-up visit to the clinic for a 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.
  2. Individuals who have latent tuberculosis will also test positive for a PPD skin test. Latent tuberculosis is not considered dangerous or contagious, however it 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.


Patients who always receive a false positive PPD result can request a Tuberculosis Screening Questionnaire.  The questionnaire is an alternative to another PPD with a follow-up chest x-ray.

The PPD test takes 48-72 hours and requires at least two visits to complete. This may delay a candidate’s employment start date and cause travel inconveniences. An alternative is a QuantiFERON (QFT) test as it is performed in one visit and analyzed by a laboratory to rule out false positives.

QuantiFERON (QFT) Testing

QuantiFERON is a blood draw exam to aid in diagnosing tuberculosis. QuantiFERONs have the advantage of requiring only one office visit and virtually eliminating the possibility of a false positive.  This ensures the workers are compliant faster and will be able to start work sooner. The test is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with adult patients.

Positive TB Test Result

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.  However, false positives are possible with both screenings 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.

Who needs a TB test?

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.  Additional TB test guidance is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Where can I get a TB test?

Mobile Health has clinics located throughout New York City as well as 2,700 national partnerships with urgent care and local providers offering TB testing nationwide. You can access a complete list here. 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, include: a PPD skin test, QuantiFERON blood test, Chest X-Ray, Tuberculosis Screening Questionnaire.

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