Hospitals running out of TB skin tests

Hospitals across the country are running out of skin tests for latent tuberculosis, according to Spectrum News 1.

The cause of the shortage is unclear and may last for months, Jonathan Grein, MD, director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told the publication.

Skin tests are the simplest and most common way to test for latent TB. They are also relatively cheap, according to the report.

Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, Calif., recently ran out of the TB skin tests. Instead of the traditional skin test, the hospital had patients answer questions about their birthplace, recent travel destinations, results of previous TB tests and current symptoms. Certain answers were marked as red flags and required additional testing, such as a blood test.

"Although there is a nationwide shortage of tuberculosis skin tests we followed the California Department of Public Health guidelines that state that only those who are deemed at high risk for tuberculosis after answering a risk assessment questionnaire would need additional testing," Armand Dorian, MD, CMO of Verdugo Hills Hospital, said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

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