Mycobacterium tuberculosis, better known as tuberculosis, has existed since ancient times. In fact, evidence shows that early variants developed in Africa about 3 million years ago. Over the course of human history, this highly contagious, potentially fatal bacterial infection has withstood the test of time and medical sciences. 

While Mycobacterium tuberculosis lives on, there are now diagnostic tests (PPD) that can help treat it. Likewise, you may be wondering what is a PPD test and how is it done.

This article will give you a more in-depth look into tuberculosis and how it is diagnosed.

Diagnosing TB: What is a PPD Test?

Tuberculosis is known to be particularly harsh on the lungs. In some instances, it can also attack the brain, kidneys, or spine. Those with TB may experience the following symptoms:

  • Intense coughing fits
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pain in the chest
  • Night sweats
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms like chills and fever
  • Weakness

TB is considered an airborne pathogen, meaning it can be spread through the air. This includes sneezing, singing, talking, and coughing. The pathogen can linger in the air for several hours, leaving ample time for an individual to inhale the germs and become infected.

It is possible to have a latent TB infection. This means a person can have tuberculosis without showing any symptoms. Those with latent TB also cannot spread the infection. However, it is possible for an individual to develop symptoms and spread the disease in the future. 

Tuberculosis can be discovered through a PPD test. But what is a PPD test? A PPD (Purified Protein Derivative) test is used to diagnose tuberculosis. Though it can be fatal, TB isn’t quite the killer it was hundreds of years ago. 

All in all, some job opportunities require PPD skin tests before hiring you.

What Jobs Require a Negative PPD Test?

Professions that work closely and intimately with people tend to require a negative test. These jobs include:

  • Nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Tuberculosis is particularly dangerous for those with weaker immune systems. This makes a negative PPD test necessary. If TB spread in this sort of environment, there would likely be casualties. 
  • Prisons and correctional facilities. Similar to nursing homes, prisons and correctional facilities house many people in a small space. This makes it a prime environment for an outbreak.
  • Homeless shelters. Just like the previous two environments, individuals in homeless shelters tend to have weak immune systems and have to share small quarters. This makes a negative PPD test particularly important.

What is a PPD Shot

Discovering whether or not you have TB depends on your reaction to a PPD shot. The process of a PPD test begins by sanitizing your arm with alcohol. Then, you will be given a shot and asked to return in 48 to 72 hours. 

Depending on your reaction to the shot, a physician can determine whether or not you have tuberculosis. If the injection sign shows signs of a bump or induration, you may have the infection. However, PPD skin tests can diagnose you without symptoms present (latent TB).

A doctor may also recommend a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is made, they will likely prescribe medication for the infection and symptoms. 

Contact Soteria Drug Screening Today

At Soteria Drug Screening, we aim to ensure your business runs smoothly. Our role is to ensure your potential employees are healthy and competent to work. We offer drug and alcohol testing, DOT drug testing, non-DOT drug testing, physical exams, wellness testing, and more. Contact us and inquire about our services today.

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