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Positive ppd test, awaiting results of chest x-ray. Is it harmful if I get in touch with other patients?

Hello. I am a RN and work as a hospice nurse, I had a positive ppd test today. I had a chest xray , but results won t be in until Monday. I am the weekend on call nurse and management is divided as to whether or not I can be in contact with patients now as I await chest xray results. I live in Nashville, TN. I am unsure if there is a state and/or federal law regarding above or if it changes per agency protocol. Can you help?
Asked On : Tue, 3 Jul 2012
Answers:  3 Views:  143
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Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions
Lab Tests
  User's Response

I appreciate your concern. You will be happy to know that positive PPD (Tuberculin) test just means that you were exposed to a TB patient in past and got sensitized. It does not mean active disease. One third of the world's population is tuberculin positive (approx 2 billion)!

As a nurse, you are expected to test positive (since you ought to have been exposed to TB patients). So relax. If you do not have any symptoms suggesting active TB, you can continue to work. I am unaware of the local laws in your state though.

-Dr. Tushar
Answered: Sat, 14 Jul 2012
Pulmonologist Dr. Gurpreet Narula's  Response
hello hollywells.rn

thanks for choosing our forum
i have read your query and i would like to mention here that a positive ppd test is a very non-specific test for tuberculosis. it indicates exposure to the bacilli, recent or past, but it doesnot indicate infection.
so as for now just dont worry and wait for your chest x-ray report. must get a sputum for acid fast bacilli done, in case x-ray has a lesion. you can surely go for work this weekend. if possible, use safety measures like face masks at work, as it protects against droplet infection.
wish you good luck and a good health
Dr. Gurpreet Narula
Answered: Thu, 12 Jul 2012
I find this answer helpful
  User's Response
Dear Miss RN,

Firstly, a positive PPD is not a confirmation of Tuberculosis. You have not mentioned any problems if u have. Let us know if your chest Xray shows something.

secondly, anyone who works in the hospital are at risk whether it be doctors or sisters or any staff. So, take basic Precautions. wear a mask always. Hope that solved your concern.

Dr indu Bubna
Answered: Tue, 10 Jul 2012
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