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Facts About...

Positive Skin Test

 Can Indicate Either:




Positive Skin Test

Skin Test

May be positive or negative

TB germ has entered the body but is not growing (dormant/inactive)

What is the germ doing?

TB germ has entered the body and is growing (replicating/active)

Not Contagious
Cannot pass TB germ to anyone else

Does it spread to others?

Can spread if the disease is in the lungs and not properly treated with medication

No active TB disease

Chest X-ray results (or e.g., CT scan, MRI)

Most show active TB on X-ray of chest OR on X-ray/CT scan/MRI of other parts of the body (e.g., lymph node, spine, kidney)

No symptoms


Symptoms become more severe over time (e.g., cough, chest pain, chills, weakness, fever, weight loss, night sweats, coughing up blood, swollen lymph nodes)

May be prescribed medication to prevent disease from developing


Requires prescribed medication  with several medicines for 6 months or longer to cure the disease

Person is at risk of developing disease in the future


Person has disease and must be treated to prevent disease from getting worse or spreading to others

Adapted from: Ontario Lung Association. (2009). Tuberculosis: Information for Health Care Providers.

March 2015