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A 56-year-old male asked:

can some one be diagnosed with latent tb just because he had a ppd + & apical pleural thickening on x-ray !?even if he had sputum test (-)

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Omega Edwards
Infectious Disease 19 years experience
LTBI: Latent TB infection is diagnosed by having either a positive PPD or having a positive blood test (interferon gamma release assay). A negative AFB smear means the number of microorganisms is so low that the lab cannot find one on the smear. Thus, you are highly unlikely to be contagious. A negative chest x-ray (no cavitation) coupled with a lack of symptoms makes an active infection unlikely. C md.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Yes, because...: If a sputum test is positive for tb, the person is considered "active" and is contagious (infectious). If sputum is negative, and the person has a positive PPD that is read correctly, and has chest x-ray signs of past tb, then the person is called "latent". Latent means he caught the TB germ in the past, but is not contagious (not infectious) now. 5-10% of latent people may become active later.
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
Yes: A positive PPD means that you have living tubercle bacilli in your body. This, in the absence of other findings or abnormalities is inactive tuberculosis. Sputum cultures will be negative.

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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