In the UK, children between 10 and 14 years old are usually tested to find out their TB status. A skin test will be carried out at their school and pupils in the same school year who do not have immunity to TB can be vaccinated.
The TB status of the following groups of people should be tested as a matter of routine:
Those who work with animals on a daily basis (e.g. veterinary staff, farmers etc);
Health service employees;
Workers in facilities where people are housed i.e. nursing homes, prisons and schools;
Those who work or live in facilities that house homeless people and refugees;
People intending to live or work for more than one month in places with a high incidence of tuberculosis;
Those who work in the airline industry;
Anyone that specifically requests a vaccination.
If you think you have been exposed to TB infection you should consult your GP immediately. They will either carry out some tests or refer you to a specialist at the hospital.
Following several tests and some clinical history taking, your doctor should then be able to classify your risk for TB disease (see table opposite).
Patients with a classification of 3-5 will usualy be referred for treatment.
No exposure to TB (not infected)
No history of exposure and a negative reaction to the tuberculin skin test.
Exposure to TB (No evidence of infection)
History of exposure and a negative skin test at least 10 weeks after exposure.
Current TB disease
Positive culture for M. tuberculosis or a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test and clinical or X-ray evidence of current TB disease.
Previous TB disease (not current)
Medical history of TB disease or abnormal but stable X-ray findings for a person who has a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test, negative smears or cultures and no clinical or X-ray evidence of current TB disease.
Signs and symptoms of TB disease, but evaluation not complete.