Since your chest xray was negative then it means that you were only exposed to someone who actually had the tb disease. Meaning that you do not have the disease but you have the infection. If you had the disease then your chest xray would have shown some changes with your lungs. To make it simple, you inhaled the tb germs from a person with the disease. You were probaly around this person for some time. Having the infection means that you have the choice to take the treatment to prevent you from breaking down with the disease later in life or if you get sick with something else. The germs are "sleeping" right now. The treatment is usually a drug name isoniazide (INH) (I hope I spelled it correctly) and is taken from 6 months to 1 year. You will not be able to drink alcohol because the drug has an effect on your liver enzymes and so does alcohol. It is beneficial to take because it will kill off the germs. The longer its taken the better chance it has of killing all of the germs. The drug do have some side effects but you can take vit b6 to help ward off some of the effects. And if you do decide the treatment, you should have labwork done every month to check your liver enzymes.
No matter what you decide to do-do not take another tb skin test. It will always be positive and the bump sometimes gets bigger.
Just curious though-you said that the ones reading said that it looked positive-did they measure it? It should have been measured and if it was 10 or greater-its positive. The induration (bump) should have been measured and not the redness.
Even if it is some other non tb strain-most often the chest xray would have still shown some sort of changes. And BCG is not given in the United States and even if you did have BCG it would be out of your system because I believe they give to a babies or children in another country. It would be long gone out of a person's system because it doesn't last long.
I hope that this helped you. I worked in a TB clinic before. You can also find more information on the CDC website www.cdc.gov
. It has all the information you wanted to know about tb but were afraid to ask.
Also no matter what you choose to do, you should have a chest xray every year. It could show if you are breaking down with the disease. There is a slight chance that even though you take the preventive treatment (INH), you could still break down with the disease. But also since you are in nursing then your job would require a tb skin test yearly or chest xray if you were ever positive.
Oh by the way, you are not contagious so you should be able to continue with your classes. You will not be able to give anyone the TB disease because you do not have it. People with the disease can spread it and have to stay inside until they complete 14 days of the medication-which is given to them by the health dept nurse or personnel or cdc (depends on the state rules)- it is called DOT or directly observed therapy.
You would have to check with your school to see what they require. They may require that you take the preventive treatment (INH).
Just a little more tidbit- If visiting someone that is sick or coughing up blood or anything- talk to them outside in the sunlight because sunlight kills the TB germs. Stay out of closed quarters that are not well ventilated. And everyone knows about the covering of mouth when coughing or sneezing.