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What Is PPD? - Definition, Symptoms & Testing

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  • 0:00 Tuberculosis and PPD
  • 0:40 What is a PPD?
  • 1:20 TB Infection & Symptoms
  • 2:10 PPD Test Results
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lynee Carter
In this lesson, you'll learn about the PPD test. You'll also learn what it stands for, how it works, how it's interpreted, and how it can tell whether someone may have been infected with tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis and PPD

There are many germs in the environment that can spread from one person to another. Some places, like healthcare facilities, are more likely to have certain types of these germs. For this reason, medical professionals are often more susceptible to specific infections.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an example of a bacterial infection that can be spread easily. This is because a person who has TB may not be aware that they are infected. Therefore, many medical professionals working in healthcare environments receive a PPD, or a test that tells whether a person has been infected by the TB bacteria.

What is a PPD?

PPD stands for purified protein derivative, which is the solution used for the test. Alternative names you may hear the test called are tuberculin skin test, TB test and Mantoux test.

During the procedure, a small amount of the solution is injected with a needle, right under the skin of the inner forearm. A raised area or wheal is seen when administered correctly. If the person has antibodies to the TB bacteria in their body, a skin reaction will appear. However, this does not mean the person has the TB disease. Further testing is necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

TB Infection and Symptoms

TB disease is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis that primarily affects the lungs but can be found in other organs of the body. It is spread from one person to another through the air. People are at risk of getting it if they are around a person infected with it who is coughing, talking, sneezing or singing.

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