I need some help trying to decide what to do regarding the TB skin test. I've been researching, talking to people like mad, I just get more confused... My son (nearly five and spent exactly one and a half month in preschool in his whole life, but happened to be the only one in the whole city in the past three years with an instructor that had active TB.) We got a letter home last Friday telling us when the skin tests would be and at first I truthfully didn’t think enough to be wary of the test, I was too worried about the possible transmission. Plus, the term ‘skin test’ makes it sound so benign, which it doesn’t seem to be. I have phoned the CDC in my city and asked to a quantiferon gold blood test but they are extremely reluctant to give it, as it is extremely cost-prohibitive. I will try to get it through my family doc, but I have my doubts if she will be helpful, she is very pro-vax. My son is un vaccinated. I have looked up many past threads, but can find very little on kids getting tested, mostly adults. Has anyone here had his or her kids tested? The test seems to have a ridiculous false positive and false negative rate and seems largely experimental, and full of fairly nasty stuff, but people seem to take it so causally. Am I overreacting? Should I just go directly to the chest x ray? That doesn’t excite me either. Plus, he was only exposed one day a week (rarely two) for one month to this particular women and there are four teachers, so I like to think that that contact time is rather miniscule, On the other hand the idea of dormant TB is a scary thought. Also the other teachers have not had their test results back yet so I don’t feel like bringing him back for the remainder of the month. (I’ve taken him out, because I’m freaked but also because he complains that it’s dull.) No one seems to be able to explain exactly why children are such passive carriers. They say they can’t propel the germs, but I’ve been splattered a few times!
I also don’t quite get how – if the teachers are found to have latent TB – it is safe for them to be around the kids. I mean, every time they get a cold, might they not transfer the virus, potentially? How does one know when it becomes ‘active?’ They are all still working now, which is slightly scary to me as they have not had their results. It’s obvious that the teacher that is no longer there was coming to work ill. No one seems to be able to answer these questions and they seem radically important. Am I just being paranoid? Should I get him the skin test; though the nurse seems to think that it isn’t absorbed in the same way as a vaccine (Isn’t anything delivered subcutaneously absorbed??) should I let him go back for the rest of the month? Help!
To make matters more confusing one TB nurse I talked to made it sound that I would be condemning my own child to terrible things if I didn’t submit to the test, the other said we could look for alternatives ( public health nurse ) and that it might make sense to wait a few weeks to do the skin test if I decided I was going to. They also want all the kids to do a repeat test in two months, more stuff injected into them…
This will likely be moved to H&H since the TB test is not a vaccine
I would demand a quanitferon-gold test. They are avalaible, it is just a matter of finding it. If folks are reluctant due to cost, offer to pay for it out of pocket if you are able to. Use this tool to see if there is a lab near you
If you have a religious exemption to vaccines, the same reasons can be applied to the TB test as it is an injected substance.
If you have to choose between the chest x-ray and the skin test, you have to weigh which carries more risk. Both carry risks..
If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.
my dp was diagnosed with tb several months ago - he grew up in a place where tb is pretty common and had likely had it for years but it was recently noticed because he had to have a tb test for work related purposes. he had two positive (extremely positive!) skin tests, a chest x ray and then treatment which included serious antibiotics for many months.
i wanted a blood test for myself and dd... but it is not done at all where i live, and is only available 4 hours away and for many hundred dollars! i did the skin test wich turned out negative and public health advised that dd did not need to be tested unless i tested positive. i would have done the quantiferon for her anyway if it had been available, but did not want to do the skin test for her at all.
it turned out to not be a huge deal - dp did all of the treatment and he has been pretty ill this winter with various colds/flu like issues and that is likely because the tb treatment is rough on your body! but he is well now and no longer has tb...
you're right that the skin test has a ridiculously high rate of both false positives and false negatives. and you certainly don't want to begin tb treatment if you are not absolutely sure you have tb... if i had to have my child tested, i would try very hard to access the quantiferon for multiple reasons. you may have to seek it out though - my experience was that even though others had done the quantiferon, none of the medical professionals even knew what i was talking about when i requested it. the public health nurses has never heard of it... it was bizarre, but i finally managed to find someone who admitted to offering it, at their very steep price.