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The tuberculosis skin test is another name for the tuberculin test or PPD test.
The PPD test determines if someone has developed an immune response to the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB).
Blood tests for TB are also available, and health care professionals may use them in place of the PPD skin test. The skin test is the preferred test in children under 5 years of age.
The standard recommended tuberculin test is the Mantoux test, which is administered by injecting a 0.1 mL of liquid containing 5 TU (tuberculin units) PPD (purified protein derivative) into the top layers of skin of the forearm.
Doctors should read skin tests 48-72 hours after the injection.
The basis of the reading of the skin test is the presence or absence and the amount of induration (localized swelling).
A negative test does not always mean that a person is free of tuberculosis.
A person who received a BCG vaccine (administered in some countries but not the U.S.) against tuberculosis may also have a positive skin reaction to the TB test.