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Tuberculin / Mantoux Skin Test for TB

January 10th, 2020

The tuberculin skin test is also known as the Mantoux test or the PPD test.

This test is to find out how much exposure someone has had to the Tuberculosis or TB germ over the course of their life.

However, the test cannot tell you if the exposure was 3 months ago or 30 years ago.

If the Mantoux or Tuberculin test reads negative, it means the person has never had exposure to TB.

Sometimes persons are required to have a mantoux test prior to starting work in health care industries. It may also be needed by staff who will work in countries where TB is prevalent.  Sometimes the test is done prior to having the vaccine for TB.  The vaccine to protect against TB is known as the BCG.  Children who have travelled into high-risk countries and then present for a BCG need to have the Mantoux test to ensure that they have not already been exposed to the TB germ.

For more information about BCG see here.

If the Mantoux or Tuberculin test reads positive, then further tests will be necessary to determine if there are signs of active TB or tuberculosis. If the Mantoux or Tuberculin test reads strongly positive, a BCG vaccine cannot be given.  The reaction to a BCG is extreme in persons who have already been exposed to tuberculosis.  In that situation, the person also does not need a BCG,  as they already have – as much as possible – their own defenses against TB.

At Dr. Deb’s we can administer the Tuberculin / Mantoux test and also give the BCG when it is required.

Mantoux or Tuberculin test requires TWO visits to the clinic. The first visit is to administer the skin test. The skin test is a small needle in the left forearm. The second visit has to be is 2-3 days later where the doctor will read the test.

There is another test for Tuberculosis ( TB) called a QuantiFERON test. This is a blood test so the good thing is that it can be done with only one visit – the reading happens in the pathology lab instead of the patient having to return to the clinic for the reading.

QuantiFERON (QF) is a more specific or targeted test for TB. QF will only read positive after an individual has contact with the Human TB germ. (The Mantoux / Tuberculin/ PPD test can read positive if a person has been exposed to a strain of TB germ that may have come from animals. )

If you are in Brisbane and need a test or vaccine for TB, please ring for an appointment Ph 07 3221 9066.



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