Tuberculosis Information

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.

How is TB Spread?

When a person with infectious TB coughs or sneezes, droplets of the bacteria are expelled into the air. If another person inhales air containing these droplets, he or she may become infected.

However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. TB is NOT spread by dishes, drinking glasses, clothing, or touching a person with the disease. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and active TB disease.

What Are the Symptoms of TB?

The general symptoms of TB disease or active tuberculosis include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

How Am I Tested for TB?

The tuberculin skin test may be used to find out if you are infected with TB bacteria. A tuberculin skin test may be done as part of a physical examination prior to starting school or a new job. The test is performed on the patient's skin by injecting a purified protein derivative (PPD) solution just under the skin. You can get a skin test at the health department or at your doctor's office. A health care worker will inject a small amount of testing fluid called tuberculin just under the skin on the lower part of your arm. After 2 or 3 days, you must return to have your skin test read by the health care worker. You may have a swelling where the tuberculin was injected. The health care worker will measure this swelling and tell you if your reaction to the test is positive or negative. A negative result means you probably do not have the tuberculosis bacteria in your body. A positive reaction usually means that you have been infected by someone with active TB disease. A positive reaction does not tell whether the person has progressed to TB disease or has latent TB infection. Latent TB infection can be determined with a QuantiFERON blood draw. Other tests, such as a chest x-ray and a sample of sputum, may be needed to see whether the person has TB disease.

What is the Difference Between Latent TB Infection and TB Disease?

People with latent TB infection have TB germs in their bodies, but they are not sick because the germs are not active. These people do not have symptoms of TB disease, and they cannot spread the germs to others. However, they may develop TB disease in the future. They are often prescribed treatment to prevent them from developing TB disease.

People with TB disease are sick from TB germs that are active, meaning that they are multiplying and destroying tissue in their body. They usually have symptoms of TB disease. People with TB disease of the lungs or throat are capable of spreading germs to others and must have medical attention.

What is the Treatment for TB?

People with TB disease or active tuberculosis require medical attention. Hospitalization or at home isolation, not attending school or work, are required while the person remains contagious. Active TB is usually treated with several medications, Isoniazid, Rifampin, Pyrazinamide, and Ethambutol, to kill the bacteria. The medicine must be taken as directed by your doctor. A person is considered non-contagious after they have three negative smears from the sputum, been on treatment for at least two weeks, and are clinically improving.

People with latent TB infection are treated with a medication therapy, usually Isoniazid or INH for nine months. INH kills the TB bacteria that are in the body.
More information about tuberculosis is available through the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/tb

Required for Cottey:

Tuberculosis Screening for All Foreign Born Students:

All foreign born students are required to have a chest x-ray within one month of entering Cottey with the report on file in Health Services before your arrival. Students that received a BCG vaccine or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin as an infant (usually international students, the vaccination is not used in the United States) are also required to have a QuantiFERON blood draw administered. The QuantiFERON blood draw is a specialized test administered to aid in the detection of tuberculosis. Because QuantiFERON does not interact with the BAC vaccine, it gives an accurate indication of the presence of tuberculosis germs in the body. A positive QuantiFERON test and a negative chest x-ray indicates latent tuberculosis infection and preventative medication therapy (e.g., INH) is required. The QuantiFERON blood draw is scheduled during Welcome Week at Cottey, and the fee is applied to your Business Office statement.

If you have a positive chest x-ray then:
Medical treatment for active tuberculosis is required, and then approval from the vice president for student life is required to attend Cottey. Documentation must be submitted to Health Services, including physician's notes, lab work, chest x-ray report, negative sputum test, and clearance to attend college.
*BA program, international students returning to Cottey after study abroad are required to have a chest x-ray within one month of your return to Cottey and are scheduled for the QuantiFERON blood draw during Welcome Week at Cottey.

Tuberculosis Screening for Domestic Students:

All domestic students are required to have a tuberculin skin test within the past six months before your arrival at Cottey. Please send a copy of documentation to Health Services.

If you have a positive skin test and a negative chest x-ray then:
Begin the preventative medication therapy (e.g., INH) for latent tuberculosis and submit documentation to Health Services.

If you have a positive skin test and a positive chest x-ray then:
Medical treatment for active tuberculosis is required, then approval from the vice president for student life is required to attend Cottey. Documentation must be submitted to Health Services, including physician's notes, lab work, chest x-ray report, negative sputum test, and clearance to attend college.

A previous positive skin test and/or precious tuberculosis treatment requires documentation of medication therapy, a current negative chest x-ray, and/or negative sputum test sent to Cottey College Health Services.
*BA program, domestic students returning to Cottey after study abroad are required to have a tuberculin skin test within one month of your arrival at Cottey.


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