CDC Announces Shortage that Affects TB Testing

Patients of Piedmont Family Practice.

We wanted to make you aware that there is a PPD Shortage as presented by the CDC (https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00420.asp)

What is PPD?

APLISOL® is one of two purified-protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin antigens that are licensed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in performing tuberculin skin tests (TST).

How are TB tests performed?

Two types of immunological methods are used for detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection: tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) and interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) blood tests.

What does that mean to you?

Due to the PPD shortage, Piedmont Family Practice will perform the TST only for High-risk groups for TB infection.  High risk groups for TB infection include:

  • People who are recent contacts exposed to persons with TB disease;
  • People born in or who frequently travel to countries where TB disease is common;
  • People who currently or used to live in large group settings, such as homeless shelters or correctional facilities;
  • People with weaker immune systems, such as those with certain health conditions or taking certain medications that may alter immunity; and
  • Children, especially those under age 5, if they are in one of the risk groups noted above.

If I don’t fall into High Risk, what is the alternative for being tested?

Any patient that does not fall under “High Risk” may receive a blood-test.  The expected cost for the blood test is $240.00.  If you, the patient has insurance, $240 will be billed to your insurance and the remainder will be your responsibility.   Piedmont Family Practice highly recommends you contact your insurance company for an expected cost.

What do I ask my insurance company?

The name of the blood-test is QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT-G). You, the patient, need to ask your insurance company for a cost estimate.

The staff and providers of Piedmont Family Practice are here to serve you and answer your questions about this shortage during your appointment if TB is suspected.