Mantoux Tuberculin Skin Test
An estimated 2 billion people, or one third of the world's population,
are infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. One reason
so many people are infected with TB is that it's spread through
the air from one person to another.
When someone with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes,
the bacteria are expelled into the air. If people nearby breathe
in these bacteria, they can become infected, and usually the infection
In latent TB infection, the bacteria are made inactive by the body's
immune system. The bacteria can remain inactive for many years,
perhaps for life. Most people who become infected with TB don't
get active TB disease.
However, an infected person remains at risk of developing active
TB disease at any time. The bacteria can become active and multiply,
especially if the immune system becomes impaired.
The bad news is, approximately 2 million people in the world die
each year from active TB disease.
The good news is, people who have latent TB infection can get treatment
that will prevent the development of active TB disease.
As a health care worker, you play an important role in controlling
TB. Your knowledge and skills are valuable in accurately identifying
people who have TB infection.
Discuss skin test training, certification programs, and
requirements in your locality. In your work site:
- What type of health care worker is designated to place
and read the skin test: a nurse, outreach worker, or someone
- Is placing and reading done by one person or different
- What courses must be taken by health care workers who
place and read the skin test?
- Are there required renewal classes?
- Where and how often is this renewal training offered?