There are two types of tuberculosis. One, or the first is called tuberculosis, this is because a person is symptomatic which means they have the symptoms of a particular illness and they do in fact feel ill. The second type of tuberculosis is called latent tuberculosis, this is because a person is asymptomatic which means that they do not have symptoms of a particular illness and that they do not feel ill. A person with latent tuberculosis is not considered infectious or contageous but are infected with mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although, approximately less than 10% of persons with latent tuberculosis will acutally develop the infection at some point in their lives, it is usually within the first few years after being infected.
Presently, the Tuberculin skin test (PPD) and the QUANTIFeron-TB Gold in-Tube test, is used to determine whether or not a person has tuberculosis. The problem with the PPD is that the tests are subject to interpretation. This means that if a patient shows up in a physicians hallway at the end of a long day, and says "Here look at my arm! I tried to get here sooner but traffic was a mess and I actually eat on my lunch hour and get most of my texting done then, so I couldn't get here any sooner." The physician must now look at the patients arm and be able to determine or rule out, if latent tuberculosis is the result. The arm may apper fine but still subject to interpretation because if the obvious of tuberculosis does not exist (with the patient having symptoms); then latent tuberculosis may still be a factor without very much of an indication from the skin (PPD) test. After doing so, the physician informs the patient that their arm seems fine and no changes have occured. This means that there is no presence of tuberculosis according to the PPD test that is used to test for tuberculosis. The QUANTIFeron-TB Gold in-Tube test is a newer test that involves the collection of blood in to a particular test tube to be sent to the laboratory for detection of tuberculosis. Still, the problem with this test is that it cannot differentiate between actual tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis. As a result a chest x-ray is necessary in order to determine if a person has tuberculosis or if in the latent stage(which simply means that there is a possibility that if a blood or skin test is positive and the x-ray is negative by having latent tuberculosis; actual tuberculosis could eventually develop).
Is there an alternative to either test that would eliminate the time it takes to obtain the results and thus, to avoid having a chest x-ray? And by doing all of this a person must take two tests in order to confirm a diagnosis. Currently, there is no testing that can be done to determine results for all types of people regardless of their origins for tuberculosis. The problem with TB testing is that there is no intermediate result that could possibly include result specifications for determining latent tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis is spread through nasal and oral discharge. Diagnostic tests consisting of nasal and mouth swabs should be considered. But what about the results? Years ago, there was a Heaf test that was administered for the detection of tuberculosis. Although, it may be considered expensive to continue to perform this type of test again, the Heaf test standard of measurement may still be useful. Please allow me to xplane, I mean explain: A patient enters a physicians office with sordid forms to be completed for a spectacular new job or just to keep the one they have going along with their benefits. Included with the usual battery of tests is the one for tuberculosis. The patient is in a frenzy because of the time that needs to be spent to see the doctor, get the results, complete the form and possibly have an x-ray done and obtain those results so that they can contiune working. The doctor is very busy and quite frankly, office visits in the hallway for test confirmation and form signature are not the move. The patient meets with the physician and the physician reads the form and then examines the patient and needs to do a tuberculosis test. "I need this all completed by tomorrow." says the patient. "I can have your results and form completed by today." replies the physician. "How?" asks the patient, "It usually takes a few days and then someone has to determine the results, what if your office is not open? What am I supposed to do?" The physician looks at the patient and then says, "Relax". The physician pulls out a double swab culture with tuberculin-specifically designed for rapid tuberculosis testing-nasal and mouth. The physician takes the nasal swab and gently swabs inside the patients nose(nostril) to obtain a culture. The physician then inserts that swab in to 100,000 units of tuberculin and fastens the cap. The physician then takes the other swab and takes a culture of the mouth and places the swab in to 100,000 units of tuberculin and fastens the cap. The physician lets the culture sit for twenty or so minutes. Once that time has elapsed the physician is ready to obtain the results. The physician first opens the cap and takes out the nasal swab and does the same for the mouth swab and dips each swab into a disposable tuberculin reader(s), one for nasal and one for mouth. The tuberculin disposable reader(s), is a reader that consists of two tuberculin proteins used in order to determine tuberculin infection (early secretory antigen protein and culture filtrate protein); these disposable readers come with each testing swab(s) as provided in the tuberculosis nasal and mouth test package. Interpretation of the tuberculin test by the Herf standard of testing will determine if the patient has tuberculosis, latent tuberculosis or if the patient does not have tuberculosis at all. Results are as follows: 0-1 or negative means that the test is negative, 2-3 means that the test is positive for latent tuberculosis, 4 means that the test is positive for tuberculosis. If negative the patient can go home with a signed and completed form by the doctor on the same day, if positive (including latent) a chest x-ray will need to be done to confirm results. The benefits to rapid tuberculosis testing-nasal and mouth is that results can be determined the same day and latent tuberculosis can also be detected. By testing both nasal and mouth secretions the physician can obtain double accuracy(without false positive results) during one office visit and without repeat testing. If tests indicate positive(including latent) for tuberculosis, then treatment by a physician is done. Using supplements such as Barberry or Propolis should be discussed with by a physician or herbalist especially if you are taking other medications. Tuberculosis not only affects the lungs, it can also affect the brain, kidneys and spine. With the rapid tuberculosis testing for nasal and mouth, everyone can leave the office on time!