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Tuberculosis (TB) Exposure - Frequently Asked Questions

Tuberculosis (TB) Exposure-Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

When did my exposure take place?

If you were seen within the Internal Medicine Department at 215 Pesetas Lane between February 16 and May 21, 2015, you may have had contact with a health care worker who was recently diagnosed with an active TB infection.

How did this exposure occur? 

Because people with active TB may not know they are infectious, they can expose others to their infection by coughing and sharing the same air space.

When is TB contagious? 

Latent TB infection is NOT contagious.  Active TB infection can be contagious.  Latent TB is treated with medication to prevent active TB. A person with active TB disease can spread the disease if the lungs are affected and the person is actively coughing.

What are the signs and symptoms of active TB and latent TB infection? 

Signs and symptoms of active TB can include: coughing, weight loss, night sweats, and fevers.  If you have developed any of these symptoms, please contact your primary care doctor as soon as possible and indicate that you received this letter.  There are NO symptoms of latent TB infection.

What are my chances of getting TB? 

Based upon what we know about this exposure, the risk of contracting active TB disease or latent TB infection is minimal.

If I am positive for latent TB infection, what would my treatment be? 

Treatment for latent TB infection can range from 12 weeks to 9 months of medication depending on the age of the person and the treatment regimen. 

Do I need to be quarantined? 

Absolutely no quarantine or isolation is necessary for latent TB infection. 

Could I spread latent TB infection to my family, friends or neighbors? 

Latent TB is NOT contagious and cannot be spread.

Does the rest of my family need to be tested? 

The only persons that should be tested as part of this exposure are those who have received a letter from Sansum Clinic. 

What if I have had prior exposure to TB and have had a prior positive PPD skin test or positive blood test for TB?

In that situation, you should reach out to your primary care provider before proceeding with any further testing.  Other types of evaluation and testing may be indicated

How and when will I know if I have latent TB infection? 

Testing for latent TB infection requires either a skin test (PPD) OR a blood test (Quantiferon). We are offering Quantiferon blood testing, through Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories. The results of the blood test should be back within 7-10 days of testing. If the test is positive, you will be given further education about next steps from your primary care provider, which will likely include obtaining a chest x-ray and possibly treatment for latent TB infection. 

If my blood test is negative is there anything further I need to do?

We anticipate that the great majority of tests will be negative.  However, out of an abundance of caution, we are advising repeat blood testing eight to ten weeks after your initial negative test to ensure that you have not been exposed. If, after that test, you are negative, there is nothing further you need to do

Will this testing cost me money? 

There will be no charge to you or your health insurance for the TB blood test if you are a patient who has recieved a letter. If your test is positive, other evaluation and management will be indicated and those services will be billed to your health insurance.

What if I have additional questions? 

If you have additional questions, please contact your primary care provider.

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