Case Study

Screening for Tuberculosis

Although TB is no longer a widespread killer, it remains a dangerous disease that can cause disability or death if untreated. The World Health Organization reports that one-third of the world’s population is infected. In the United States, as well as in Texas, about 10 percent of reported TB cases occur in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two types of tests are available for patients whose TB risk assessment questionnaire is positive: the conventional tuberculin skin test (TST) and newer blood tests known as the IGRAs. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the new class of blood tests measures how the immune system reacts to TB bacteria.

Isla’s TB screen indicates a risk for TB exposure because she recently spent more than three weeks in the Caribbean, where the TB incidence rate is among the highest in the world. The CDC recommends that children with TB risk factors be tested before symptoms appear. Early detection and treatment can prevent development of TB disease. Young children are especially vulnerable to developing life-threatening forms of TB.

portrait of young girl
Patient
Isla
Sex
Female
Age
4 years

Which type of TB test should you administer to Isla?

Tuberculin skin test (TST).

QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube, an IGRA blood test.

T-SPOT®, an IGRA blood test.

A special TST designed for children younger than 5 years.

Related Texas Health Steps course

child pointing at a bandaid on their arm

Immunization

Effectively communicate vaccine information to patients and families, apply the national immunization and catch-up schedules, and identify vaccine contraindications and precautions. Includes current ACIP guidelines.

Credit hours: 1.75 CE

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About Texas Health Steps

Texas Health Steps’ award-winning online program offers FREE CE courses for primary care providers and other health professionals. These courses offer updated clinical, regulatory, and best practice guidelines for a range of preventive health, oral health, mental health, and case management topics.