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Tine tester to test for exposure to tuberculosis causing bacteria, London, England, 1945-1955

A tine test is used to see whether a person has already been exposed to the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. The six needles were sterilised, dipped into tuberculin, and used to puncture the skin. If a red hard area appears, this indicates that the person has been exposed in the past or present to the bacteria. This suggests they either have the disease, are naturally immune or have acquired immunity to it in some way. Today, a tine gun has four prongs and is disposable for reasons of hygiene.

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Glossary: tuberculin

A protein extracted from the tuberculosis causing bacterium. It is used in tests to determine if a person has been exposed to the bacteria and is in danger of coming down with the disease.

Glossary: tuberculin tine tester

used in the tine test

Glossary: tine test

a tuberculin test in which a disk with several tines bearing tuberculin antigen is used to puncture the skin; development of a hard red area indicates past or present exposure to tubercle bacilli and the need for further testing

Glossary: tuberculosis

An infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium first identified by Robert Koch in 1882. The disease usually affects the lungs first, and is accompanied by a chronic cough.

Glossary: immune

To be protected against infectious disease.