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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Guide for Primary Health Care Providers: Targeted Tuberculin Testing and Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis Infection

Appendix C

Administration and Measurement of the TST*

The Mantoux test is the recommended TST. It is administered by injecting 0.1 ml of 5 TU of purified protein derivative (PPD) solution intradermally into the volar surface of the forearm using a 27-gauge needle with a tuberculin syringe.

  • Obtain results of all previous TST. Ask patient to describe what the test area looked like 23 days after administration; obtain documentation
  • Avoid areas of skin with veins, rashes, or excess hair
  • Cleanse the area with alcohol swab, allow area to dry, and inject all antigen just below the surface of the skin on the volar surface of the forearm, forming a 610 mm wheal (a pale, raised area with distinct edges; has orange-peel appearance and does not disappear immediately)
  • If no wheal forms, or if a wheal forms that is less than 6 mm, the test should be repeated immediately, approximately 2 inches from original site or on the other arm
  • If minor bleeding occurs, dab the injection site with a cotton swab
  • Avoid covering the area with a bandage or applying pressure to the injection site
  • Record the date, time, and location of the TST
  • Instruct patient not to scratch the site, but to use cool compress to relieve any itching or swelling
  • Inform patient of the importance of returning for a reading of the TST within 4872 hours (23 days)
  • Give written appointment card for TST reading
  • Provide written information about TST (pamphlet or brochure)


  • Measure the induration (hard bump) rather than erythema
  • Palpate area with fingertips, measuring the diameter of induration perpendicular to the long axis of the arm
  • Use ballpoint pen to mark edges of induration
  • Use a tuberculin skin testing ruler or ruler with millimeters to measure the distance between the two points

Recording and documentation

  • Record date TST was administered
  • Record the brand name of the PPD solution, lot number, manufacturer, and expiration date on the patient record
  • Record results in millimeters of induration (0 mm if there is no induration) rather than as positive or negative
  • Record date and time of reading and name of person reading TST
  • Provide patient and ordering physician with written documentation

Storage and Handling

  • PPD solution must be kept refrigerated at 36 46 F
  • Avoid fluctuations in temperature; do not store on the refrigerator door
  • Syringes must be filled immediately prior to administration
  • Store and transport the tuberculin in the dark as much as possible and avoid exposure to light.

*Contact the local health department TB program for training on the Mantoux tuberculin skin test.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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