Tuberculosis Skin Testing and Treatment

The Lincoln County Health Department is committed to the detection, treatment, and prevention of Tuberculosis among its residents. We offer a variety of services to help provide care to those who are infected, exposed, or being evaluated for TB as well as those getting routine testing completed.

 Services Provided:

  1. TB Risk Assessments
  2. TB Skin Testing
  3. Medication management of both active and latent TB
  4. Investigation, Surveillance, Medications and Case Management if there is positive ACTIVE TB diagnosis.

TB Skin Test Appointments

Routine TB skin tests are available from the Lincoln County Health Department. The skin test must be read by the Health Department staff within 48-72 hours. A set time will be given when the TB skin test is administered. If the TB skin test is positive, you will be referred to your physician with instructions for an evaluation.

DAY:  Tuesdays with return appointments scheduled on Thursdays
COST: $17 per test
PLACE: 607 N Sales St Suite 101, Merrill, WI 54452

Vaccination with live viruses (i.e., MMR, chickenpox, FluMist) may interfere with TB skin test reactions. A TB skin test can be given on the same day as a live virus vaccine or at least 4 weeks after the administration of the live virus vaccine; in this way, a false negative is avoided.

Two-Step TB Skin Testing

Those required to have two-step testing need to arrange to come in for two TB skin tests. If the first TB skin test is negative, then a second TB skin test would need to be given 7-21 days after the first test. There is a $15 fee for each TB skin test.

TB Blood Tests

There is a blood test (QuantiFERON) available through your health care provider which can be used in place of the TB skin test and does not cause a false positive if you’ve received a BCG (TB) vaccine. Please contact your physician for more information.

Why is Latent TB Infection Treated?

The health department can provide medication for those diagnosed with latent TB. If you have latent TB infection but not active TB disease, your doctor may want you to take a drug to kill the TB germs and prevent you from developing TB disease. The decision about taking treatment for latent infection will be based on your chances of developing TB disease. Some people are more likely than others to develop TB disease once they have TB infection. This includes people with HIV infection, people who were recently exposed to someone with TB disease, and people with certain medical conditions.

How is Active TB Disease Treated?

Active TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs for 6 to 12 months. It is very important that people who have TB disease finish the medicine, and take the drugs exactly as prescribed. If they stop taking the drugs too soon, they can become sick again; if they do not take the drugs correctly, the germs that are still alive may become resistant to those drugs. TB that is resistant to drugs is harder and more expensive to treat. In some situations, staff of the local health department meet regularly with patients who have TB to watch them take their medications. This is called directly observed therapy (DOT). DOT helps the patient complete treatment in the least amount of time.

Useful Resource:

Testing for Tuberculosis Fact Sheet

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