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Health Department forced to limit TB testing

Post Date:08/20/2019 9:31 AM


The Kansas City, Missouri Health Department is limiting the availability of tuberculosis tests at its immunization clinic due to the nationwide shortage of tuberculin, a protein ingredient needed for tuberculosis (TB) testing.
The clinic will no longer offer routine tuberculosis skin tests for school or employment because it is limiting its remaining supply to those with contact to a suspect or active TB case, those who are part of a TB investigation, newly-arrived refugees and immigrants, and others with risk factors for active TB.
The clinic will still offer tuberculosis testing conducted with a blood draw (T-spot test) for a fee of $100. However, until further notice, blood draws will be available only on Tuesdays. Additionally, the restrictions on who can receive a tuberculosis blood test remain in place. The test will not be administered to people who have no risk factors for TB or to people with a documented history or a positive TB skin test or TB disease.
During the shortage, many providers will use a screening form for persons required to have a TB screening for employment, educational institution admission, long-term residential care admission or any other required reason.
In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it expected the nationwide shortage to last up to 10 months.
TB is caused by a bacterium that usually attacks the lungs, but these bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body. People with TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.
The KCMO Health Department’s TB Treatment Clinic remains open to direct care for those with active TB, those who receive a positive TB test, and those who have been exposed to people with TB.

Find Tuberculosis Testing and Treatment information at or call the clinic at 816-513-6110.

Media inquiries should be directed to Michelle Pekarsky, public information officer, 816-719-3610 (cell). Follow the Health Department on Facebook and Twitter.
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