A shortage of Tuberculosis tests has health officials concerned - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

A shortage of Tuberculosis tests has health officials concerned

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Tuberculosis...it's a serious respiratory disease that health officials track very closely.

But, a nationwide shortage has tri-state health departments running out of the TB tests, which could make it difficult to track the disease and keep it from spreading.

The Adams County Health Department has a a sign on the door that says they are not doing TB tests right now because of the shortage.

Officials at other healthcare facilities in the area say they are aware of the problem, and are taking steps to make sure the shortage doesn't affect the health of their employees and residents.

Sunset Home Director of Nursing Christa Mantzke says with a vulnerable elderly population it is important that both the residents and employees are tested for TB once a year.

"We need to make sure we keep them safe and we need to make sure we are not exposing them to anything," said Mantzke.

That's why Mantzke says when her facility learned of the shortage this summer they took action to make sure they would have enough to keep everyone safe.

"We pulled all of our inventory in our building and made sure that we have a good supply to last us and we are tracking that and keeping very careful inventory on what supply we do have," said Mantzke.

Jan Hummel of the Adams County Health Department says it's important for facilities like Sunset Home to make sure they are stocked up on the tests.

"Obviously many people that work in the healthcare field work with people who are either immune compromised or have a lot of chronic illness which would make them very vulnerable."

Hummel says the reason behind the shortage is because the testing material they use called Tubersol is only made by one manufacturer and they're having trouble keeping up with the demand.

"They're having production problems. This is a fairly common occurrence in a lot of drug manufacturers in the last year or two," said Hummel.

Hummel says they hope to get more tests by October, so if you need the test your best bet is to wait if you can.

"You need to inquire of your employer or the individual who is requiring the test to see if it can be held off until the testing material is available," said Hummel.

Hummel says TB has been rare in Adams County, about 1 case per year, but it is still critical to test for it.

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