Allegheny County Health Department suspends routine tuberculosis tests

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Allegheny County Health Department will suspend all routine tuberculosis screenings beginning Monday because of a nationwide shortage of the solution used to give the skin test for the disease.

"This could last awhile," health department spokesman Guillermo Cole said. "It's affecting all providers."

The material, purified protein derivative, known as PPD, is injected as the TB skin test. The shortage is caused by a manufacturing issue, Mr. Cole said.

In 2012, the health department tested 9,300 people for TB. Most were for routine tests needed for employment and school requirements, Mr. Cole said.

Higher priority screenings will continue, including those for people who have had contact with a known case of tuberculosis and people with type 1 diabetes or HIV positive conditions, undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment and people recently arriving in the country from regions with high rates of TB.

Routine screenings will resume when the supply of TB skin test solution returns to normal levels.

For more specific information, people may call the Health Department's TB office at 412-578-8162.

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Jill Daly: jdaly@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1596.


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