Many assisted living providers are encountering shortages of PPD tuberculin skin tests needed to conduct tuberculosis screening for both staff and residents. The CDC and FDA have confirmed the shortages:
TUBERSOL®, a product of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, is in shortage nationwide until at least the end of May 2013. TUBERSOL® is one of two purified-protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin products that are licensed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The manufacturer notified CDC that 50-dose vials of TUBERSOL® are unavailable and that the supplies of 10-dose vials will be limited. This notice advises public health officials, clinicians, and workers in occupational health and infection control about how to adapt to the shortage.
The shortages have been ongoing for most of this year and are expected to continue through October. In the interim, the CDC recommends substituting the IGRA blood tests as an alternative testing method. Unfortunately, the blood test is more costly than the PPD.
At today’s CALA conference, CCL representatives stated that RCFE providers must obtain a waiver to utilize the blood test rather than a skin test due to the specificity of the requirements for PPD or chest x-ray stated in RCFE regulations.