Tuberculosis (TB) Program

Tuberculosis (TB) Program

Ford County Public Health Department offers one and two-step Tuberculosis (TB) testing. TB testing is available for $20.00 or is billable to insurance comapnies that cover the testing. TB tests are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays only. TB test results are read 72 hours after the test is given.

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease that can occur in any part of the body (the brain, spine, lymph nodes, etc.), but it most often causes infection in the lungs. When first infected with the TB germ, people usually do not feel sick or have any symptoms. However, they may develop active TB disease in the future.

What is the difference between TB infection and TB disease?

People with TB infection have the TB germ in their bodies but are not sick because the germs are inactive and, therefore, cannot be spread to others. Because these people may develop the disease in the future, they often are given preventive treatment.

People with TB disease are sick from the germs that are active in their bodies. They exhibit symptoms (cough, fatigue, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, etc.) of the disease and, if they have TB of the lungs or throat, can spread the disease to others. Physicians can prescribe drugs to cure TB.

What are the symptoms of TB disease?

The general symptoms of TB disease include feeling sick or weak, weight loss, fever and night sweats. TB of the lungs causes the general symptoms plus coughing, sometimes producing blood, and chest pain. Other symptoms depend on the part of the body that is affected.

How is TB spread?

TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB disease of the lungs or throat cough or sneeze, they can put TB germs into the air. Then other people who breathe in the air containing these germs can become infected. People with TB disease are most likely to spread it to people with whom they spend time with every day, such as family members or coworkers. (Remember, though, a person must have active TB disease to spread it; persons who are infected but do not have the disease cannot spread TB to others.) If a person thinks he or she has been in close contact with someone with TB disease, it is important to go to a clinic or health department for a TB skin test.

How is a person tested for TB?

The tuberculin skin test is used to find out whether a person is infected with the TB germ. It does not tell whether the person has TB disease. For the skin test, a small amount of fluid--called tuberculin--is injected under the skin in the lower part of the arm. Two or three days later, a health care worker checks the site of the injection to see if there has been a reaction.

What does a positive reaction mean?

A positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test and TB blood test usually means that the person has been infected with the TB germ. It does not necessarily mean that the person has TB disease. Other tests, such as a chest X-ray and a sample of sputum, are needed to see whether the person has TB disease.


General information about TB and a variety of TB topics is available at:

« Back To Services
  • Agency on Aging
  • Community Care Coordination
  • DHS
  • CDC
  • Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services