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Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can also attack other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.
If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist:
Once a person is infected with TB bacteria (LTBI), the chance of developing TB disease is higher if the person:
Two tests may be used to detect TB bacteria in the body: a TB skin test (TST) or a TB blood test.
At Oregon State, incoming students from high-risk countries will be required to have the TB blood test. If you have a positive reaction to the test, you will be given a chest X-ray to see if you have TB disease.
Students from countries identified as high TB risk are required to complete TB screening upon arrival at Oregon State.
Students from exempt countries who have lived in a high-risk country for more than six (6) months are advised to complete a TB screening as well.
The TB screening will be available through OSU Student Health Services. In many cases, TB screening will be included in the new student orientation schedules as coordinated by INTO-OSU and OSU International Programs.
The testing must be completed within the United States, so please do not pursue advance testing in your country prior to your arrival. If you are from one of the high-risk countries, please expect to complete your TB screening upon arrival at OSU.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another.
The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
TB is not spread by:
Travelers should avoid close contact or prolonged time with known TB patients in crowded, enclosed environments (for example, clinics, hospitals, prisons, or homeless shelters).
Travelers who will be working in clinics, hospitals, or other health care settings where TB patients are likely to be encountered should consult infection control or occupational health experts. They should ask about administrative and environmental procedures for preventing exposure to TB. Once those procedures are implemented, additional measures could include using personal respiratory protective devices.
If you think you have been exposed to someone with TB disease, contact your health care provider or local health department to see if you should be tested for TB. Be sure to tell the doctor or nurse when you spent time with someone who has TB disease.