Tuberculosis (TB) Skin Testing

Effective May 10, 2022  TB Clinics will now be held Tuesday/Thursday 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. 

The cost is $31.50 per skin test. Cash or check. Credit card is also accepted with a convenience fee. Additionally, we are now accepting insurance!

What is Tuberculosis (TB)?

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that usually attack the lungs. However, TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
  • Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. People who are not sick have what is called latent TB infection. People who have latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others. But, some people with latent TB infection go on to get TB disease.
  • People with active TB disease can be treated and cured if they seek medical help. Even better, people with latent TB infection can take medicine so that they will not develop active TB disease.

How is TB spread?

  • TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
  • When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain.
  • TB in the lungs or throat can be infectious. This means that the bacteria can be spread to other people. TB in other parts of the body, such as the kidney or spine, is usually not infectious.
  • People with active TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with.

What is a TB skin test?

  • The TB skin test is a method used to diagnose TB infection. A small needle is used to inject some testing material, called tuberculin, into the upper layers of the skin, usually done on the inside of the forearm. The person getting the test must return two to three days later to have the test site on the arm examined by a nurse or doctor. If there is a reaction on the arm, the size of the reaction is measured. A positive reaction, usually a small bump, means that the person probably has a TB infection. Other tests are needed to determine if the person has latent TB infection or active TB disease.
  • The Ottawa County Health Department offers TB skin testing to residents of Ottawa County. TB testing clinics are held every Tuesday from 3 to 4 pm. TB tests are read every Thursday from 3 to 4 pm. No appointments are necessary. The cost for this test is $31.50 per test (the fee includes the administration of the test on Tuesday, and reading on Thursday).