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Testing for TB Bacteria


There are two kinds of tests that are used to detect TB bacteria in the body: the TB skin test (TST) and TB blood tests. A positive TB skin test or TB blood test only tells that a person has been infected with TB bacteria. It does not tell whether the person has latent TB infection (LTBI) or has progressed to TB disease.

Other tests, such as a chest x-ray and a sample of sputum, are needed to see whether the person has TB disease.

Testing during pregnancy

There is a greater risk to a pregnant woman and her baby if TB disease is not diagnosed and treated.

TB skin testing is considered both valid and safe throughout pregnancy. TB blood tests also are safe to use during pregnancy but have not been evaluated for diagnosing TB infection in pregnant women. Other tests are needed to show if a person has TB disease.

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