At this point I have my FUTB shirt in-hand, and I have earned it. I spent a morning last week running around from the doctor to various labs to have blood taken for the QuantiFERON (Gold!) blood test and a chest x-ray. It was all pretty easy except the first lab I went to didn’t do the blood test, and the phlebotomist (which is also a great word) at the second place did a number on my arm. I was swore for two days. I almost waited to have the x-ray done until the blood test came back positive, but then it was close to the gym anyway, so I went ahead and did it. The x-ray results were ready by the afternoon and I received the confirmation that my lungs are clear. As expected, I do not have active TB. However, I received the call today that my blood test was positive. So, latent TB it is! No false positive here. The damn mark from the PPD is finally, just now, basically invisible on my arm, 3 weeks later.

So now I apparently have to report myself to the city health department. They track all positive TB test results. For the latent cases it can’t matter as much as for the active cases, but still it makes me feel a bit like a pariah. Also, it looks like they might offer the latent TB treatment for free. Not that it matters since Peace Corps will be paying for my 6-9 months of chemoprophylaxis if I don’t get free treatment. (I also had to get that great word in there one more time.) It’s also all a bit tricky since I don’t exactly have a stable situation in one geographic place.

In summary, I’m healthy but I was exposed to TB in Mexico. I’m not contagious. I only managed one picture for this stage of the latent TB diagnosis process. Here is my arm after getting blood drawn and before the chest x-ray.


4 Responses

    1. Thanks and hello! What is so fortunate about all this is that at least I feel sick for any of it. Great to hear from you!

  1. At least your TB test is accurate I received BCG vaccine 3 times (at birth, in my childhood and adolescence) and so my TB skin test is always positive, even though I don’t have TB. Xray is clear. I was referred to health and safety occupation for a doctor appointment. Doctor said I have 3 options: 9 months treatment (a small chance of side effects: sick stomach, enlarged liver), or just fallow up with him (more appointments,xrays, etc), or TB blood test. I chose the TB blood test.

    I was still left unimpressed as if my TB skin test is masked by vaccination then why bother. Doctor said I may have a chance developing active TB by 3.7% by the age of 80 (based on age:25, activity: active, origin: Russia, no cancer, no cough and healthy). He said even with vaccine my skin test had to be less or like 20mm (I got 27mm measurements). So it seemed too much for the doctor.

    The other problem with the blood test (no results yet) is that it’s still 70-81% accurate, according to some medical journals, at least the test they are doing in the place I am right now. They don’t even have the gold standard for it. So they improvise to what the goal of the blood results should be and not knowing for sure. so the results is more like 50/50 guess. I can probably better guess myself if I have latent TB.

    My personal concern is that if I do go through the treatment and kill all the TB bacteria wouldn’t I still be susceptible to a new TB bacteria in the future. I didn’t really had any TB exposure in the past. So I don’t see any benefits as it’s a temporary solution anyways (+damaged liver). Do I really have a latent TB. :(

  2. Thank you for this post! I found your page b/c I was looking for photos of positive TB test. Like you, they had to consult outside to read my TB skin test. I was boarder-line, so they ended up giving me a negative based on my low exposure/personal health history. I think I am going to ask for a blood test since my arm looks like yours. :/

    I appreciate your chronicle as it is helping me to feel optimistic if I do have latent TB.

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