Monday, October 5, 2015

Updated TB Blood Test will save more lives!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the TB Blood Test
I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

We live in an age where we have all the information in the world at our finger tips. We can find out the gender of our baby before they are born, we know instantly when our bank account is replenished or drawn from and when our friend posts about their new milestone in life. The same goes for many types of medical tests. What used to take an unimaginable amount of time (if it was even possible) now can be determined in a short amount of time. 

When I was pregnant with my first child, my midwife ran a blood test that I wasn't aware of that she had done until I received a phone call from a nurse a few weeks later. The nurse informed me that my test had come back positive as being a carrier for cystic-fibrosis. This isn't a typical test, I'm not sure why she ran it, but it's been suggested that due to my Eastern European heritage it prompted her to be on the safe side. This revelation was frightening and we had my husband tested shortly after. His results were returned in less than 48 hours; he is not a carrier. Our children have a very low likelihood of being CF positive, though they will have a good chance of being carriers, like myself.

This small amount of information was powerful. My mother was not likely tested when she was pregnant with me, but I now have the ability to share this with my children when they choose to have a family. Something as simple as knowing this information ahead of time is a huge relief.

Recently I've been doing research on Tuberculosis (TB). Why? I don't know, because I'm a mom and I tend to want to be informed at least a little bit on a lot of things. Did you know that until recently the test for TB was a 110 year old test? REALLY. I guess on one hand that's impressive that it's withstood the test of time, but on the other hand - it really wasn't that accurate and required multiple doctors visits. 

But what is TB? Isn't it a disease of the past? It's been known as the consumption, the White Plague, and the earliest known disease to man. It's not a disease of the past. It's still very possible to get it today. According to the WHOTB is spread from person to person through coughs, sneezes or spit. The germs get into the air and it only takes inhaling a few of these germs to become infected.Those with compromised immune systems have a much higher risk. Symptoms (cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss etc.) may be mild for many months. It's easily confused with other common illnesses, which means it can be spread to many more people in the delay for getting tested.  Those with TB can infect up to 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.

This is why there was a great need for the 110 year old test to become more accurate and have a faster result time. The new, revamped TB test is the only available method of testing for TB with completely objective results. Other tests, such as the skin test, are subjective and open to visual interpretation.

The new TB test is a small blood draw and provides fast, non-visually based objective results. The old "skin test" relied on two visits. On the first visit you are injected with tuberculin and if you are infected there will be a raised bump at the injection site, but this required a second doctor's visit to confirm. 

While it is a low likelihood to contract TB in the United States ("a
 total of 9,421 TB cases (a rate of 2.96 cases per 100,000 persons)"; source: CDC), knowledge is power. 


  1. Yes!! Working in healthcare I had to constantly get a TB test... I believe once a year if I remember correctly?? And because of my super sensitive skin I would always show a positive result. Then Id have to go for a chest xray which would always come back negative... so annoying!! Im glad to know there is a better test available now!! Even though Im a sahm now and probably wont have to get one again for a long long time ;)

  2. I went through the same thing for my green card. In Europe, we get a vaccination (mostly useless, apparently) for tb but then it causes a reaction on the traditional tests...



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