TB skin testing for the community at the Larimer County Health Department is currently suspended. See alternative TB testing sites. Please contact one of the locations for current prices and hours.
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has the county-wide responsibility for the control of tuberculosis (TB) according to current standards of medical and public health practice. Efforts are directed toward preventing the spread of TB in the community through identification and treatment of active cases and providing treatment for latent (inactive) TB infection.
- NOTE: Until further notice, community TB testing is currently suspended. See alternative TB testing sites.
- Surveillance and annual reporting of tuberculosis cases in Larimer County
- Assistance to health care providers and health care facilities in developing and maintaining Tuberculosis Infection Control protocols for their health care workers
- Collaboration with and consultation to area health care providers , health care facilities, occupational health providers, infection prevention specialists, student health providers, correctional facilities and shelter facilities related to tuberculosis testing, control, interpretation of screening information and resources for follow-up services.
- Developing partnerships with area health care facilities in the identification of high risk individuals for tuberculosis to provide comprehensive screening and treatment of latent TB infection as a mechanism of preventing progression to tuberculosis disease.
- Investigation of suspect and/or confirmed cases of tuberculosis disease.
- Initiation of isolation requirements. These are issued by the chief medical health officer (Medical Director of Larimer County Department of Health and Environment) for contagious individuals
- Treatment using direct observation therapy (see #5 FAQ).
- Case management of TB cases with oversight from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment TB Program
- Conduct contact investigations to identify close contacts to a TB case.
- Screen and treat those contacts who are at high risk for developing TB disease and those with latent TB infection.
- Tuberculosis screening and treatment of newly arrived refugees, asylees, and parolees with a Class A or B tuberculosis status referred by the State Refugee Health Program.
- Tuberculosis screening and treatment of newly arrived legal immigrants with a Class A or B tuberculosis status referred by the State TB Program.
- Provide Tuberculosis follow-up for individuals who have received a medical examination by a Civil Surgeon for immigration status change, and have a positive tuberculin skin test or positive interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) (see #4 in FAQs).
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I schedule an appoiontment for a TB skin test?
Until further notice, community TB testing is suspended. See alternative TB testing sites.
- What is tuberculosis (TB)?
TB is a contagious disease that is spread from person to person through the air by droplets from the respiratory tract containing the TB germs (tubercle bacilli), which are coughed up by a person who has active, pulmonary (lung) TB disease. TB disease may also affect other parts of the body such as the bones and joints.
- What are the signs and symptoms of active TB disease?
A person with active TB disease may have fever, night sweats, chest pain, prolonged productive cough and sometimes may cough up blood. The person may also have weight loss, loss of appetite, and become tired very easily. Further tests are necessary to rule out tuberculosis disease.
- What does it mean if I have a positive tuberculin skin test or interferon gamma release assay (IGRA)?
A positive tuberculin skin test (PPD) or positive IGRA means that you have been exposed and infected with the tuberculosis bacteria, which can remain dormant in your body without making you ill for many years. If you have a positive tuberculin skin test or positive IGRA, it is important to follow-up with your doctor or the Health Department for additional testing to rule out tuberculosis disease.
- What is an interferon gamma release assay (IGRA)?
An IGRA is a blood test that can be used in place of a tuberculin skin test for detecting the presence of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis in an individual. Specifically, it measures the cellular immune responses to a few Mycobacterium tuberculosis- specific antigens. Anyone with a positive IGRA needs to have follow-up with their doctor or the Health Department. Three types of IGRA's are the Quantiferon-Gold (QFT-G), the Quantiferon Gold In Tube (QFT-GIT) and the T-SPOT.
- What medical treatment is needed to cure active TB?
A combination of medicines must be taken as scheduled for at least 6-12 months. Persons with active TB disease must receive their TB medicine from a health care worker who watches them take their medicine. This is called direct observation therapy and is required by state law. If all the medications are not taken as directed for this period of time, there is the possibility that the TB bacteria could become resistant to the medicines, making them ineffective in treating the disease. If resistance occurs, more expensive, less effective drugs must be used for treatment and the treatment can be prolonged for at least 2 years.
- Who will help pay for tests and medicines?
There is a fee for tuberculin skin testing by the Larimer County Department of Health based on the individual's ability to pay. Medication for the treatment of tuberculosis disease is provided at no cost to the individual through the Larimer County Department of Health TB Program. The TB Program also provides medication for treatment of latent TB infection at no cost to individuals who do not have health insurance. If tuberculosis screening is as a result of a work related exposure to a diagnosed case of tuberculosis disease, the employee will be screened through his/her employer's occupational health /worker's compensation provider and treatment will be provided as needed.
Related Internet Sites
The Centers for Disease Control website contains information on:
- TB and HIV co-infection
- TB skin test
- TB training
- BCG vaccine
- Chest x-rays
- About TB and treatment
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment webiste contains information on:
- TB surveillance and statistical information
- Colorado TB Manual
- TB Guidelines and Recommendations
The Francis J. Curry National Tuberculosis Center webiste contains information on:
- Training opportunities
- Online presentations
- TB facts and recommendations
- Medical consultation
- About TB