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Tuberculosis (TB) Screening and Testing

General Student Screening:

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s deadliest diseases. One fourth of the world’s population is infected with TB.

In 2017, 10.0 million people around the world became sick with TB disease. There were 1.3 million TB-related deaths worldwide.

A total of 9,105 TB cases (a rate of 2.8 cases per 100,000 persons) were reported in the United States in 2017. This is a decrease from the number of cases reported in 2016 and the lowest case count on record in the U.S. The case rate of 2.8 per 100,000 persons is a 2.3% decrease from 2016.

As ending TB requires maintaining and strengthening current TB control priorities while increasing efforts to identify and treat latent TB infection among high-risk populations, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Student Health Center employs a two-stage TB screening process on all newly enrolled full-time students. The first stage of screening involves assessing a student’s TB exposure risk. Then, dependent on a students identified risks, a second stage for TB testing may be required.

Screening Students in Health-related Fields of Study:

As TB transmission has been documented in health care settings where workers and patients encounter people who have TB disease, many university programs in healthcare related fields of study also require their enrolled students to participate in a mandatory TB Infection Control Program that involves routine TB testing. Many of these students obtain their testing through the Student Health Center as well.

Periodic testing of health care workers is recommended as part of a TB Infection Control Plan and may be required by state regulations. TB testing programs should include anyone working or volunteering in health-care settings.  Persons (health care workers and non- health care workers) who have face-to-face contact or potential exposure to TB through shared air or space with infectious patient(s) should also be part of a TB testing program.

Additional information regarding TB testing in healthcare workers is available at this CDC link: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/testing/healthcareworkers.htm

For students enrolled in a program of study requiring participation in TB infection control measures, the Student Health Center encourages adherence to current CDC guidelines for TB screening.  This includes either a baseline testing with an initial two-step TB skin test, as indicated, or a single TB blood test, dependent on the program’s requirements. Then, dependent on the participating student’s exposure risk classification, as determined by their program, follow-up TB testing is recommended.

Student Health Center staff are available to discuss your questions or concerns regarding TB screening and testing in students. You may contact us at: (865) 974-3135 or via email at: sdixon11@utk.edu.

Student Health Center
Division of Student Life

1800 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-3102
Phone: 865-974-3135