The Mantoux test is a bacteriological examination, which is usually used to determine infection with tuberculosis bacteria. The test, however, doesn’t show whether a person actually has tubercolosis. This requires making an X-ray of the lungs.
The test is carried out in patients with suspected tubercolosis. It can also be used in investigation among risk groups, that is to say people who might have been in contact with tubercolosis.
The test is similar to an allergy test. The more intense the response of the body, the more likely it is that the person has been infected with tuberculosis.
With the Mantoux test, a small amount of liquid with tuberculosis proteins is injected into the skin of the left forearm. The result of the test is read three to five days later. If the body has made antibodies against the tubercolosis bacterium, these substances react in the skin with the injected fluid. Then, a thickening of the skin can be felt and usually the skin is also red. In the event of a negative test result, no thickening in the skin can be felt. Some redness is of no significance. The Mantoux test is not dangerous.