Tuberculin sensitivity test (Mantoux test)

Last updated: Friday, 04, June, 2010

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Item Process

In vivo test.


Intradermal injection of 10 Tuberculin units of purified protein derivative (PPD) is the preferred technique for quantitation of response.

Multiple puncture techniques (Heaf and Tine tests) are more convenient.

The reaction is read at 48-72 hours.

Concurrent testing with 10 units of avian PPD may be indicated.

Reference Interval

Negative test defined as <5 mm induration.


Investigation for exposure to, or infection with, tuberculosis.

This test is contraindicated in patients with a history of a previous excessive reaction.

The newer tuberculins do not appear to offer any advantages over older preparations; neither distinguish M. tuberculosis infection from infection with avian and other atypical mycobacteria.


A positive test indicates that the patient has been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis or with an atypical Mycobacterium spp.

It is consistent with both previous exposure or active infection.

A positive result may also indicate previous BCG vaccination, and results should be interpreted in the light of the vaccination history. SeeĀ Table 8.

In a patient with known or suspected immune deficiency, a negative result should be interpreted in conjunction with the results of delayed hypersensitivity skin tests.


Tiruviluamala P and Reichman LB. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am 1993; 13: 59-75.

Tala-heikkela M et al. Tuber Lung Dis 1992; 73: 330-335.