Kansas City health officials limit tuberculosis testing due to shortage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A nationwide shortage of a type of protein is prompting the health department to limit tuberculosis testing.

The city clinic is no longer offering routine tuberculosis skin tests required by some schools and employers because of the shortage in tuberculin. The tests are being reserved for only those who have had contact with a suspected or active TB case, newly arrived refugees and immigrants and others who are at risk of contracting tuberculosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this shortage may last up to ten months.

"For our clients that usually come in to be tested for school or for work, they would usually just pay in our clinic and receive the test," Simone Taylor, a public health nurse supervisor, said. "We don’t have tuberculin on hand for those folks currently."

The Health Department still offers blood tests to detect tuberculosis. However, those cost $100 and are available only on Tuesdays.

Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs. People who have it usually spread it to those they spend a lot of time with, including family, friends and coworkers.

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