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Chest X-ray

This is an X-ray of your lungs. It is used to establish whether there is inflammation or fluid in the lungs. That could indicate the presence of tuberculosis. An X-ray only reveals lung tuberculosis.

Tuberculin skin test (Mantoux)

This test involves injecting the skin in the left forearm with a small amount of liquid. The test is assessed two to three days later. It can reveal an infection with tuberculosis bacteria.

IGRA (Immune Gamma Release Assay)

A blood sample will be taken by making an venepuncture with a needle and then the sample will tested in the lab for the presence of antibodies to combat tuberculosis.

The IGRA is often used in combination with the tuberculin skin test. If the tuberculin skin test reveals a possible infection with tuberculosis bacteria, a positive IGRA reaction will provide more certainty about the diagnosis.

Sputum (Bacteriological test)

Sputum is mucus coughed up from the lower respiratory tract.

A sputum sample is sometimes taken at the Public Health Service (GGD) and sometimes you will be given little containers to take home in which to collect sputum, several days in a row if necessary. The sputum will be examined under a microscope, bacteria will be incubated or a DNA test (PCR) conducted to establish whether tuberculosis bacteria are present in the sputum.

This test can also establish whether the bacteria present in the sputum will respond to the various medicines that will be prescribed.

More information about TB