Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable, infectious disease which usually effects the lungs (pulmonary TB). However tuberculosis bacteria can travel through the blood to infect other parts of the body (non-pulmonary TB).

Typically, pulmonary TB is infectious but non-pulmonary TB is not infectious. In order to become infected with TB a person requires prolonged, close contact with someone who has TB in their lungs and is coughing or sneezing the bacteria into the air.


Active and Inactive Tuberculosis

Inactive or latent TB occurs when a person becomes infected but the body's immune system is able to prevent the bacteria from making you sick.

Active TB disease occurs when the body's immune system is unable to stop the growth and spread of the bacteria resulting in illness.

Both inactive and active TB are treatable and curable.

TB treatment is free and is accessible through Region of Waterloo Public Health.


TB Skin Test

A TB skin test is used to screen for tuberculosis. A TB skin test indicates if you have been exposed to TB (if the germ is in your body). It can not tell if you have active or inactive TB. If the skin test shows that the TB germ is in your body, more testing will be done to determine if you have active TB disease.

One-Step versus Two-Step TB Skin Tests

A one-step TB skin test means that a test is placed and read 48 hours later to determine if you have been exposed to TB.

A two-step TB skin test means that an initial test is placed and read (in the 48 hour time frame) to establish a baseline. If the initial test is positive, no further testing is completed. If the initial test is negative, a second test is performed one to four weeks after the initial test and again read 48 hours later.

If a person has a documented two-step test, an additional two-step test never needs to be repeated.

Check your paperwork if you do not know if you need a one-step or two-step test. You can also call to check with the organization requiring the test.

TB Skin Test at Public Health

TB skin tests are publicly funded (free) for the following individuals: 

  • Immigrants and refugees from endemic countries
  • International students from endemic countries
  • Canadian-born travellers who have travelled to endemic countries for more than one month
  • Clients with medical risk factors who have a referral from a health care provider
  • Contacts of active TB cases (as determined by Public Health TB program staff)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health is not providing TB skin testing clinics. 

NOTE: We do not administer TB skin tests that are required for employment or volunteer purposes or admission to a program or study in a school, college, university or other educational institution.

Please check with your family doctor to see if they provide TB skin testing. If you do not have a family doctor, or your doctor does not provide TB skin testing please refer to the list below.

TB Skin Test Providers in Waterloo Region

Clinic Location Phone

Phoenix Healthcare

#301-450 Frederick Street, Kitchener

519-748-6933

First Line Walk-in Clinic

600 Hespeler Road, Cambridge

519-267-2588

K-W Walk-in Clinic 100 The Boardwalk, Kitchener 519-279-4098
KW Urgent Care Clinic  751 Victoria Street South, Kitchener 519-745-2273
Urgent Care Clinic 385 Fairway Road South, Kitchener 519-748-2327
Waterloo Walk-in Clinic 170 University Avenue West, Waterloo 519-725-1514
Westmount Place Walk-in Clinic 50 Westmount Road North, Waterloo 519-954-0111

TB skin testing is available at Conestoga College for students of Conestoga College or McMaster University (Conestoga campus). Clinic information is available through MyConestoga under Practicum Services Community or by calling Practicum Services at 519-748-5220 ext 3101.


TB Treatment

TB treatment is free and available through Public Health.


Additional Resources

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