My opinion this is a scam that St. Lukes uses to extract more money. A friend of mine has a filipa fiance. She was positive, then had x-ray to prove she didn't have TB. They went to another hospital and she took another PPD and sputum test; both were negitive. St. Lukes would not even consider the other results.
Second X-ray for independent conformation was...negative. St. Lukes refused any secondary proof of no TB; My friend spent a lot of money to have proof she didn't have TB. She is now finishing up her six months of TB 'treatment'.
Sorry to say, but you might be delayed six months.
Tuberculosis is a serious disease. In the Philippines the PPD (Purified Protein Derivative) which is a test where a small amount of liquid is injected just under the skin of the forearm to produce a “bleb.” Then after waiting the proper time (48-72) hours the test must be “read.” A reaction is not always conclusive especially in the Philippines because the BCG vaccination was commonly used (bacille Calmette-Guérin) on many children. Often if a person has had the BCG vaccination the bleb will indicate a false positive.
Use of the PPD skin test is just a small part of the examination to “clear” a person as negative.
It is indeed possible to be actively infected, and infective with TB and not have a trace within the sputum at all. TB can be an important cause of skin, lymph node, bowel and gynecological problems. In all these cases a sputum test may be negative because the disease is not active within the lungs or throat.
No, it’s not a scam, and yes, America takes it very seriously especially now that there are multi-drug resistant varieties that are very difficult to cure. MDR-TB is multi-drug resistant TB, it is difficult and expensive to cure. XDR-TB (Extensively drug-resistant TB is extremely difficult to cure. XDR is very rare in the US but much more common in other countries such as India, China, South Africa and other countries including RP (Republic of Philippines). The problem is—if a person has simple TB, and is not treated properly, the strain of mycobacteria tuberculosis can mutate—into a MDR strain. This is why so much effort is put into 1) discovering who has it and more importantly: 2) treating it to effect a cure.
TB is a very dangerous disease. I remember as a child playing in an abandoned, well it was bigger than most hospitals, in Illinois. It was a “Sanatorium,” A place for those with TB to literally go and die. With the advent of modern antibiotics such a place was no longer necessary and all those patients in this place, when the mix of antibiotics was found, were probably cured making the place obsolete.
I can take you to a graveyard way out in the forest here in New Hampshire, with many headstones from the early 1800’s. By what is written on the headstones quite a lot indicated death by TB (then known as consumption).
Though antibiotics have been remarkably successful in reducing TB, it is still one of the top ten causes of death in the world.
To see why it’s so difficult to properly screen someone read this forty page document:
Should you fear being MDR-TB, or XDR-TB? No. Should you fear being TB positive? I would, if I were in a Filipino’s position, it’s a scary thought. But consider—if positive, yes you must wait for treatment to cause a cure, but you will be cured. In the absence of the US testing protocols you could be spreading the disease to those who you loved.
“Any immigrant or refugee who has TB is not allowed to enter the United States until the disease has been treated correctly. CDC’s primary goal is to reduce the spread of disease in the United States, and research has shown that TB can be transmitted to others through actions as simple as coughing, sneezing, speaking, or singing.”
Edited by yailukmuu, 12 February 2014 - 11:01 AM.