QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus Blood Test
The QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus Blood Test screens for TB infection by using a blood sample to look for signs of an immune reaction to Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus Blood Test to help screen for TB infection by using a blood sample to look for signs of an immune reaction to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus Blood Test is one of only a few FDA-approved blood tests to screen TB. Compared to other TB tests typically offered, this test provides convenience with a simple blood draw and accuracy with specificity as high as 99% in TB disease detection.
What is tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by exposure to a specific bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It spreads quickly from person to person, mainly through coughing and sneezing. TB disease is not spread by touching, kissing, or sharing food or dishes—instead, the bacteria spreads from person to person through the air. People infected with TB in their throats or lungs spread the germs into the air when they cough, sneeze, talk, or sing. If an individual breathes in the contaminated air, they can get TB. Individuals are more likely to become infected with TB from people they live or work with than from people they see for shorter periods. TB primarily injures the lungs but also damages other vital organs like the brain, spine, and kidneys.
Who has a higher risk of getting infected with tuberculosis (TB)?
Specific individuals have a higher risk of TB infection after exposure. These include individuals who:
- Work or live where TB is more common, such as in the healthcare industry, shelters for people without homes, and jails.
- Became infected with TB in the last two years
- Have other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disorder, or diabetes, that make it hard for your body to fight TB bacteria
- Have an alcohol abuse disorder or use illegal drugs
- Were not appropriately treated for TB in the past
- Children under the age of 5
- Adults 55 or older
Additionally, it is important to note that not all individuals infected with TB bacteria display symptoms. Therefore, there are two types of TB conditions:
- Latent TB infection, where the TB bacteria lives dormant in the body without any symptoms.
- TB disease (active TB), where you get sick from the TB germs. Individuals can almost always cure TB disease with antibiotics. But if not appropriately treated, it can become fatal.
When should I order a QuantiFERON TB Gold Plus Blood Test?
Individuals may order this test if they have experienced symptoms related to TB disease. Common signs or symptoms of TB may include:
- Chills and fever
- Night sweats
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or fatigue
- Consistent cough that lasts longer than three weeks
- Coughing up blood or thick mucus from the lungs
- Chest discomfort
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