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TB Skin Testing

The TB Skin Test is administered to see if an individual has been exposed to the Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria. TB is spread by tiny “tubercle” germs (bacteria) that can float in the air. The TB bacteria may spray into the air if a person with active TB disease coughs or sneezes. The TB Skin Test is an important step to make sure that an individual does not get sick with the Tuberculosis disease.

The TB Skin Test is usually done on your left forearm. A small needle is used to put the testing material, called tuberculin, under your skin (intradermally). In 48 to 72 hours, a nurse will need to check to see if there is a reaction to the testing site.

The TB Skin Test DOES NOT make you get TB. Also, positive results DO NOT mean that you have the disease. It may only mean that you have been exposed. If a positive result does occur, the individual will be asked to get a chest x-ray in order to make sure that there is no active disease. The TB Skin Test IS NOT a vaccine that prevents TB, but it does help you find out if you have TB infection.

Who should NOT have a TB Skin Test?

  • Anyone who has had a positive TB Skin Test in the past;
  • Anyone who has any medical condition that may cause problems with the immune system;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Anyone receiving an MMR immunization with one month of requesting a TB skin test;
  • Anyone taking cortisone, prednisone or other steroids.

TB Skin Tests are available in University Health Services. All students interested in the test will be required to sign an informed consent to receive it. The cost of the TB Skin Test is $10. Interested students should call 985.493.2600 or visit UHS (Betsy Cheramie-Ayo Hall) to schedule an appointment. After they receive the vaccine, students must pay at Fee Collection.

Revised July 2013

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