Nationwide shortage of tuberculosis testing materials forces Columbia agency to adapt

Apr 18, 2013

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control announced a nationwide shortage of TUBERSOL, a product needed for tuberculosis skin testing.

According to the alert, TUBERSOL manufactures notified the CDC that 50 dose vials of TUBERSOL were unavailable and 10 dose vials were limited.

On Wednesday, the City of Columbia announced the shortage in a press release.

According to the release, the Public Health and Human Services Clinic in Columbia will not offer TB skin testing for pre-employment screenings and pre-enrollment screenings for schools or training programs.

Columbia Community Health Manager, Mary Martin, said the CDC has provided information that helped the city’s clinic adapt to the shortage.

“What we have done is what the Center for Disease control has asked us to do,” Martin said. “Which is to hold back a certain amount of our supply for people that are high risk.”

The Public Health and Human Services Clinic will offer alternative TB testing known as T-Spot testing.

Martin said people in need of a TB test can rely on the T-spot test if they are willing to pay more money.

“It’s a perfectly fine alternative,” she said. “The cost difference is the most significant thing for people who aren’t insured or are low income.”

CDC Deputy Director of News Media, Jennifer Horvath said the CDC has information for any TB testing institutions on their website. The information includes recommendations, alternative testing methods, and general TB factsheets.

Individuals can be tested using T-spot testing at Columbia’s clinic between Monday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, for $70.