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Rules on TB tests have changed

Posted: Friday, August 11, 2000

Effective Feb. 10, 1999, the state of Alaska changed the tuberculin skin testing requirements for school-aged children. Because TB testing normally is done in the schools during the fall or early winter, this change will become more apparent during the next few months.

The two primary changes affecting the school TB testing program are:

n Who will be tested -- all kindergartners, seventh-graders and anyone new to the district. Previously the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District also tested first, third and 11th grades in addition to those above.

n The type of test to be used -- the baseline skin test is now the PPD -- Purified Protein Derivative. The previous baseline test was the Monovac, a multi-pronged instrument that occasionally provided false negative results.

According to the Section of Epidemiology for the state of Alaska, the rate of tuberculosis in Alaska, while still high in some locations, has declined more than 30-fold over the past 50 years. Recent studies have found multiple testing of school children is no longer necessary. Two tests during a student's school career will provide adequate identification.

However, the skin test must be one that provides consistent (standardized) results. According to the Epidemiology Department, the PPD is the only standardized method for detecting TB infection in people not showing symptoms. The PPD uses a small needle to inject the test dose between the layers of skin on the forearm. The body's reaction to this injection is then measured 48 to 72 hours later.

Questions regarding the testing in the school may be directed to the nurse at your child's school or the Health Services coordinator at 283-7355.

HEAD:Rules on TB tests have changed

Effective Feb. 10, 1999, the state of Alaska changed the tuberculin skin testing requirements for school-aged children. Because TB testing normally is done in the schools during the fall or early winter, this change will become more apparent during the next few months.

The two primary changes affecting the school TB testing program are:

n Who will be tested -- all kindergartners, seventh-graders and anyone new to the district. Previously the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District also tested first, third and 11th grades in addition to those above.

n The type of test to be used -- the baseline skin test is now the PPD -- Purified Protein Derivative. The previous baseline test was the Monovac, a multi-pronged instrument that occasionally provided false negative results.

According to the Section of Epidemiology for the state of Alaska, the rate of tuberculosis in Alaska, while still high in some locations, has declined more than 30-fold over the past 50 years. Recent studies have found multiple testing of school children is no longer necessary. Two tests during a student's school career will provide adequate identification.

However, the skin test must be one that provides consistent (standardized) results. According to the Epidemiology Department, the PPD is the only standardized method for detecting TB infection in people not showing symptoms. The PPD uses a small needle to inject the test dose between the layers of skin on the forearm. The body's reaction to this injection is then measured 48 to 72 hours later.

Questions regarding the testing in the school may be directed to the nurse at your child's school or the Health Services coordinator at 283-7355.



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