TB Test Shortage Affects Local Parents

By Chris Chan and Christina London
|  Friday, Sep 13, 2013  |  Updated 6:52 PM PDT
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TB Test Shortage Affects Local Parents

AP

There has been a nationwide shortage in tuberculosis tests since April, according to the CDC.

Some parents who want to volunteer in San Diego County schools are having trouble because of a tuberculosis test shortage.

The shortage was first announced in April, and the tests aren’t expected to be readily available until the end of October. The tests are required for parents to volunteer in the classroom.

Dr. Mark Shalauta of Scripps Health said the shortage shouldn’t cause alarm.

"There is no danger to the public with a shortage of TB tests. This is only an inconvenience for parents who would like to volunteer in school," Shalauta said.

This week, Shalauta said he’s had five patients try to get tested for TB so they could volunteer at their children’s schools.

A skin test is performed to test for tuberculosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the shortage comes from a problem with the manufacturers that make the solution.

There are alternatives to the traditional skin test. A chest x-ray or blood test can also prove a person doesn’t have TB. Or, it may just take some shopping around. For instance, Family Health Centers of San Diego said they still have the test available.

Some believe testing for TB is vitally important because of San Diego’s international exposure.

“We have more people who come from places where TB is rampant, so this area is known to be TB endemic,” said Dr. Fred Fung with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.

Last year, 234 tuberculosis cases were reported in San Diego County.
 

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