Two-Step Tuberculin Skin Testing (TST) Shortage
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expecting a 3 to 10 month nationwide shortage of Aplisol, used for Tuberculin Skin Testing (TST).
Although TSTs are often required for students enrolled in a healthcare field, First District Health Unit (FDHU) is at a critically low level of tuberculin skin test antigens. As a result, effective August 5th, 2019, FDHU will not perform two-step TSTs. The second TST placement will be deferred until the shortage has resolved. When the FDHU TST supply is exhausted, all persons will be referred for IGRA blood tests.
During this shortage, it remains important to detect and treat tuberculosis.
CDC recommends testing only for persons who are at high risk of TB.
High-risk groups include:
- People who who have been exposed to active TB disease
- People born in or who frequently travel to countries where TB disease is common (any country other than Australia, US,Canada, New Zealand, and Western or Northern Europe)
- People currently living in high-congregate settings, such as homeless shelters or correctional facilities
- People with weakened immune systems
- Children, especially under 5, if they are in one of the risk groups noted above
On May 17, 2019, the CDC published new recommendations (not related to the shortage) for Tuberculosis (TB) screening, testing, and treatment of health care personnel (HCP). Although HCP should continue to be screened for TB upon hire, annual HCP TB testing is not recommended unless there is a known exposure or threat of ongoing transmission. Annual testing should be replaced with annual TB education, symptom review and risk assessment. Adult TB Risk Assessment -Print for your employer. Visit www.ndhealth.gov for more information.
These guidelines will remain in effect until the shortage has resolved. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the TB Program at 701-852-1376.