How Do You Get Tested for Tuberculosis for Free?


Quick Answer

When a confirmed case of infectious tuberculosis is identified, a state department of health may offer free testing to anyone who has been in contact with the infected person, as the New Mexico Department of Health reports. As of 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website maintains a list of links to state and territorial health departments.

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Local health departments in North Carolina provide free treatment of both infectious and noninfectious tuberculosis, says the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Tuberculosis is a potentially fatal disease that's spread by airborne bacteria, but most people who become infected do not get sick. The law requires that doctors report cases of tuberculosis to the local health department.

There are two types of tuberculosis and two tests that identify its presence, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with latent tuberculosis have dormant germs in their system, but their health is not affected. When the germs become active, they infect the lungs, brain, kidneys or spine. One test uses a small needle to insert material called tuberculin under the skin; a health care worker then checks for a reaction after two to three days. The second type of test, which is used less often, checks how someone's immune system responds to tuberculosis germs .

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