County to limit TB tests

Staff report

October 23, 2013

LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Department of Public Health will no longer administer Tuberculosis, of TB, testing for those who only need it to meet school or work requirements.

According to Debbie Maske, registered nurse and Tuberculosis control nurse at the county’s health department, the skin test will no longer be administered to “low risk” individuals, including those who have not immigrated from or traveled to countries with a high incidence of Tuberculosis; those who do not have compromised immune systems; and those who have had no recent contact to someone with active Tuberculosis.

Those people will instead receive a risk assessment and symptom screen, at a cost of $15, and receive a “certificate of the absence of communicable tuberculosis.” Individuals will need to check with their employer prior to coming for testing to ensure the certificate will be accepted in lieu of a tuberculosis test.

Someone with risk factors or symptoms will be administered the test, and a follow up will be done.

According to Maske, the health department’s new policy was handed down from Dr. Jason Stout, the state TB Medical Director, in the wake of widespread shortage of Tubersol and Aplisol, the products used to administer the skin test. Stout said the new policy will be followed even after the shortage is resolved ensure the availability of skin testing for persons with the highest risks of active Tuberculosis.

“This new policy will ensure that tuberculin is available for skin testing persons with symptoms of TB disease and those that would be at highest risk of developing TB if infected with the TB germs,” Maske said.

For information or questions, call Maske at the Scotland County Department of Public Health at 910-277-2470, ext. 4489.