How Long After Exposure To Get Tested (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1–2 Weeks

For many people, the symptoms of infection are enough to know that they need to get tested. However, for others, it can be difficult to tell if symptoms are actually due to a bacterial infection. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend testing people with possible exposure to a severe bacterial infection for three weeks following the last known contact. 

If a person ever had symptoms after being exposed to bacteria or another microbe and wants to know how long one should wait before getting tested, this post will help answer the questions.  

How Long After Exposure To Get Tested?

TestDuration
Chlamydia 1 to 2 Weeks
Hepatitis3–6 weeks

If one thinks that they are contaminated, or if there is a possibility that they were in contact with too many people who also have bacteria, then getting a test is necessary.

It can be anyone working in food service, healthcare workers who took care of other infected patients before changing their gloves and scrubs, or schoolchildren after they return from sick days – get tested. It can’t hurt to get an early test.

It’s really important not to wait until the symptoms emerge before getting tested for strep throat because it takes at least 24 hours for the bacteria to grow and produce detectable antibodies against it. This means somebody who has been incubated with strep for more than 24 hours may still be able to cause the infection long afterward.

For example, after a sexual assault, unprotected sex with a new partner, or an injury that might have exposed to someone else’s blood. In addition, New York State law requires any person who “has been wounded or had contact with an open wound” of an individual known to be living with HIV/AIDS when offering assistance to get tested sooner.

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It also recommends that anyone who has had close contact with someone diagnosed with severe bacterial infection is tested at least twice in the three weeks after their last known contact. This includes healthcare providers, household members, or other persons who have come into close contact with the patient’s bodily fluids, including vomit. 

Why Would It Take So Long To Get Tested After Exposure?

The incubation or latent period between exposure and development of symptoms is estimated to be six days by the World Health Organization. 

This estimate is primarily due to the difficulties of identifying infected persons before they show symptoms; WHO recommends that governments strive to detect outbreaks at an early stage to mitigate their impact. 

It can be through engaging in containment measures, including suspending classes, restricting public gatherings, checking traveler movements for signs of illness among travelers returning from affected areas, etc.

If one chooses not to be tested or doesn’t know the status, experts recommend following safer-sex practices until they get tested. For people who are unsure about their exposure to infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend testing within three weeks of non-occupational exposure.

Throughout Africa, West Africa has been particularly hard hit by the Ebola epidemic. Nearly four deaths happen each hour, with most victims without access facilities fighting but losing their battle-ridden bodies’ fight for survival. 

Most tests do not need to be administered until four to six weeks after exposure to be accurate. 

It can take anywhere from 10 days up to 3 months for someone to detect the virus in the blood and saliva through a medical test like PCR or ELISA. 

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Hence, experts still recommend it for peace of mind rather than waiting until one feels sick. The microbes have increased infection due to density in population, pollution, smoking, changes in diet, and other outdoor exposure especially prevalent in an urban context.

Conclusion

It is important to get tested as soon as possible after exposure. The sooner, the better, and it’s never too late for testing if one is unsure of the risk factors. 

If a person thinks that they are exposed to certain microbes or bacteria, they must contact a health care professional and get tested sooner to avoid spreading it to others. 

Usually, the cells are taken to the lab and tested in a special environment to analyze them in the test. The sample may be taken by inserting a swab into the mouth and take a swab from the back of the throat.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016510718332462 
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/320/7232/412.short 
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