Tuberculosis Screening Policy
It is the Student Health Center’s policy that all international students be screened for tuberculosis upon initial arrival to campus and annually thereafter. Both the initial and annual screenings consist of a risk assessment form and, depending on those results, may consist of lab work and/or chest x-ray as well.
New International Students
As mentioned above, all international students are screened for tuberculosis upon arrival to UWO. To complete the initial screening process, complete the forms below and return to Student Health via email at email@example.com or drop off at the Student Health Center.
Returning International Students
International students that remain on campus will be required to complete annual tuberculosis (TB) screenings. Only those who have identified risks will be required to repeat lab work. Please complete the forms below and return to Student Health via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off at the Student Health Center.
- International Student Annual TB Risk Assessment Form
- Authorization for Exchange of Medical Information
Students can expect a secure message from Student Health once a year via the Patient Portal reminding them of the annual screening. Students will receive a notification email to their UWO email informing them of a new secure message in the Patient Portal.
September 5 - December 15
Sat & Sun: Closed
Closed: Nov 3, Nov 23-24
Concern for Active Tuberculosis or Exposure to Tuberculosis?
If you develop any symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) or had a potential exposure to TB, please call (920) 424-2424 to speak with one of our staff.
Symptoms of TB include:
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
- Cough >/= 3 weeks
- Bloody sputum
- Chest pain
Student Health Can Help!
Student Health offers TB skin tests and blood work for tuberculosis testing. If positive, students can meet with a medical provider to receive further evaluation and discuss chest x-ray and treatment of latent tuberculosis (LTBI) if needed.
If you have been treated for LTBI in the past, it is possible to become infected again. Please be sure to mention this when discussing with Student Health staff.
Call Student Health at (920) 424-2424 to speak with one of our staff about scheduling an appointment.
Urgent Care or Emergency Resources
If Student Health is closed, please visit our Urgent/Emergency page for information on local Urgent Care and Emergency Departments.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
Please Click on the following sections to learn more about Tuberculosis Infection and UWO.
Testing for tuberculosis (TB) infection
If there are any risk factors for tuberculosis (TB) noted on the risk assessment form, the student will be asked to pursue a blood test called serum-interferon gamma release assay (IGRA). An IGRA is a blood test used to determine if the person has ever been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or the bacteria that causes TB. This test can be completed at the Student Health Center for a fee. If negative, the person likely does not have tuberculosis. A positive test means the person has been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and additional testing is needed. Your Student Health provider will help navigate this situation if IGRA is positive.
Students also have the option of obtaining the lab work in their home country and sending the lab results to Student Health for review.
Patient Portal & Secure Messaging
Student Health uses secure messaging via the Patient Portal to securely and confidentiality communicate with students regarding their health care. To access the Patient Portal, visit the Student Health Center’s website and click on ‘Patient Portal.’ Students can then log in using their UWO NetID and password.
Once logged in, students can view lab results and message with their health care provider. Students can also use the Patient Portal to schedule appointments.
***It is very important students check their messages on the Patient Portal. Due to privacy laws in the United States, exchange of personal health information must remain secure and confidential. Therefore, UWO email cannot be utilized for this purpose.
Authorization for Exchange of Health Information
The Student Health Center works closely with the office of International Student Services to complete the tuberculosis screening process for all international students. Due to privacy and HIPPA laws, this information cannot be shared without the consent of the student. By signing this form, the student is giving Student Health and International Student Services consent to discuss the tuberculosis screening process. No other health information will be shared unless specifically requested by the student and documented appropriately.
If the requested documentation is NOT received by the end of the student’s first 4 weeks of the start the semester or designated date, an academic hold will be placed on the student’s account. This will prevent the student from being able to add or drop classes. The academic hold will be lifted as soon as the proper documentation is obtained.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please click to expand the following information:
What is latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI)?
Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person to person through the air. Not everyone that is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis becomes sick. As a result, there are two different types of tuberculosis – latent and active.
Those with latent tuberculosis or LTBI are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis but do NOT have active disease. They do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. People with LTBI are NOT contagious, however, can progress to active TB infection at any time.
For others, Mycobacterium tuberculosis overwhelms the body’s immune system resulting in active TB disease. Symptoms include unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, night sweats, fever, fatigue, chills, cough greater than 2 weeks, coughing up blood and chest pain. Patients with active TB disease are contagious.
Therefore, it is important to treat LTBI to prevent active TB infection and the spread of tuberculosis.
What if I have had the BCG vaccine?
BCG is a vaccine to prevent tuberculosis (TB) disease. Although not routinely administered in the United States, it is given to infants and children in countries considered to have a high burden of tuberculosis. Like all vaccines, BCG does not always protect people from getting TB.
A TB blood test or IGRA is not affected by prior BCG vaccination and does not give false positive results in those that have received a BCG vaccine.
Can I do a TB skin test instead of an IGRA?
At UWO all international students are screened for tuberculosis using an IGRA. This is because many people born outside of the United States have received a vaccine called BCG. For those individuals that receive a TB skin test, it is important to understand that a history of BCG vaccination may cause a false positive. Therefore, it is unknown if the positive result is due to the BCG vaccine itself or infection with TB bacteria.
IGRA is NOT affected by prior BCG vaccination and therefore is the preferred method of screening for international students at UWO.
What if my IGRA is positive?
If your IGRA is positive, then you have been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB). It is important to rule out active tuberculosis disease and, therefore, your provider will likely recommend a chest x-ray. If the chest x-ray is negative, discussion will begin for treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). See ‘What is latent tuberculosis infection?’ above.
STUDENT HEALTH CENTER
Radford Hall, First Floor
777 Algoma Boulevard
Phone: (920) 424-2424
Fax: (920) 424-1769
September 5 - December 15
Sat & Sun: Closed
Closed: Nov 3, Nov 23-24