Tuberculosis is known to develop in two stages, which is latent tuberculosis and the active TB. During latent stage, the person is infected with tuberculosis while active TB the bacteria have now regenerated causing sickness. Even with the symptoms, tuberculosis disease remains one of the diseases which are difficult to diagnose. As a matter of fact, some tests will only indicate that a person is infected with TB but will not determine whether it is a latent TB or the active TB. However, with the advanced technology, there are various tests which are carried out to ascertain the extent of the TB.
Testing and Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
The presence of TB infection is tested through the TB skin test and the TB blood tests. These two criteria will not classify whether one has a latent TB or an active TB. The skin test is widely known and the most used method for testing and diagnosis of tuberculosis. During this time the doctor injects a fluid called tuberculin into the skin around the forearm area. After 48 to 72 hours the doctor will check for swelling around the injected area, and if you have hard and raised red bump, the doctor will measure their sizes.
Also, if they are large, then you have tuberculosis bacteria. The drawback about this test is that the results of testing and diagnosis of tuberculosis might be inaccurate due to other bacteria infecting the skin. One, the result might conclude that an individual has TB while he or she has no TB. Secondly, if you have been vaccinated with the Bacillus Calmette – Guerin vaccine, the result might state that you don’t have the diseases while you are infected.
To affirm the results whether an individual is either in latent TB stage or the active TB, several tests should be carried out which include;
It is also known as the TB interferon gamma release assays whereby the blood is tested to measure one’s immune response to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. The procedure is conducted with two FDA-approved methods, the quantiFERON TB Gold test and T-SPOT TB test to determine the presence of certain molecules called cytokines. The results are out within 24 hours and are not affected by BCG vaccination.
Scan and sputum tests
After the skin test result, the doctor may opt to conduct the chest X-ray, which helps in revealing the presence of white spots in the lungs caused by the tuberculosis bacteria. After that, the doctor takes a sample of your sputum to test for the presence of tuberculosis bacteria. As a matter of fact, the doctor might use the sputum sample to check which kind of medication that is likely to work for you. The results are out after 1 to 2 months.
Testing and diagnosis of tuberculosis is quite a problem for individuals with HIV/AIDS because they don’t respond quickly to the tuberculosis bacteria. This is why several tests are conducted to make sure that the final results are accurate.