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Tuberculosis skin test

Translations available: Hmong, SomaliSpanish

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that usually affects the lungs and can sometimes affect other parts of the body. It can be very serious. TB is caused by the bacteria (germ) Mycobacterium tuberculosis. (See the education sheet "Tuberculosis.") People can have the TB germ without showing any sign of illness.

Why does my child need this test?

Your child needs this test because of one or more of the following:

  • routine screening for tuberculosis
  • your child may have been exposed to tuberculosis
  • your child may have symptoms of tuberculosis

Even if your child has had a Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination for TB in the past, he or she can receive a TB skin test. BCG does not always protect people from TB and BCG does not always cause a reaction to the TB skin test.

How is the test done?

The TB skin test, also called a Mantoux or PPD test, uses a very small needle to inject a small amount of fluid called tuberculin under the skin on the forearm. The test will not give anyone a TB infection.

What do I need to do?

Do not put a bandage or any ointments on the site.

Do not let your child rub or scratch the area.

Important: The test site must be checked for a bump, raised area, or redness 48 to 72 hours after the test was given. Any change must be checked at the clinic.

Follow the checked instructions below:

___ Return to clinic at the date and time below to have the site checked by a trained reader:

Date: ___________________________________________

Time: ___________________________________________


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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