University of California, Riverside

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Information About Tuberculosis Case at UCR

UC Riverside has been advised by the Riverside County Department of Public Health that one UC Riverside student has an active case of tuberculosis. Although the risk of transmission is low, a TB skin test is highly recommended for the student's closest associates.

The university has sent a notice to 1,500 students, staff and professors who could have had repeated contact with the individual. The campus is offering free TB testing at the campus health center for any student who is concerned.

The Campus Health Center is following standard protocols mandated by public health laws and by general practice.

Information You Should Know about Tuberculosis (TB)

What is TB?

TB is short for a disease called tuberculosis. TB is spread through the air from one person to another. TB germs are passed through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, laughs, sings, or sneezes. Anyone near the sick person can breathe TB germs into their lungs. TB germs can live in your body without symptoms, known as "latent TB."

How do I know if I am among the 1,500 people at UCR who could have come into close contact with the student?

Those people were notified with a letter from the Riverside County Health Department signed by Barbara Cole. The letter includes a chart at the bottom showing specifically when to come in to the Campus Health Center.

How do I know if I have TB?

There are two tests that can be used to help detect TB infection: a skin test or special TB blood test.

  • The skin test is used most often. A small needle is used to put some testing material, called tuberculin, under the skin. In 2-3 days, you return to the health care worker who will check to see if there is a reaction to the test. In some cases, a special TB blood test is given to test for TB infection.
  • This blood test measures how a person's immune system reacts to the germs that cause TB.

To tell if someone has TB disease, other tests such as chest X-ray and a sample of sputum (phlegm) may be needed.

Where will the testing be done on campus?

TB skin testing will be conducted at the Campus Health Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. There is a second visit is necessary 48 to 72 hours later to have the spot examined for a reaction.

Do I have to prepare in advance?

No, this is a walk in clinic. No preparation is necessary. If a skin test is positive it will lead to a chest X-ray.

Is there a cost for the test?

The test is free for students at the UCR Campus Health Center. Staff and faculty will be charged a fee of $8.

Can I go to my own doctor?

Yes, you may choose to have your TB skin test administered by your personal physician.  If you have the test administered by your physician, please have the physician contact the Riverside County Department of Public Health for reporting purposes. You will not be reimbursed for the costs of having the test administered and read by your personal physician.

Who else does testing?

Any county Department of Public Health can also administer the test.  You may call them at (800) 720-9553 to schedule an appointment.

What should I do if I have TB?

If you have latent TB infection, you may need medicine to prevent getting TB disease later. Usually, only one drug is needed to treat latent TB infection. It is important that you take your medicine exactly as you are told. It takes at least six months to one year to kill all the TB germs.

How common is TB?

It is relatively common in the world, but less common in the United States. There are about 15,000 cases of TB in the United States each year.

Who is most vulnerable?

People who are more likely to get sick from TB disease include:

  • people with HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS)
  • people who have been recently infected with TB (in the last two years)
  • people who inject illegal drugs
  • babies and young children
  • elderly people
  • people who were not treated correctly for TB in the past
  • people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, and being underweight

Is TB fatal?

It can be. But Tuberculosis is a treatable disease when detected.

Should students stay away from classes?

No, the campus has removed the student who has an active case of TB from the general population. If you remain concerned, please take advantage of the free testing offered at the Campus Health Center.

What if I have more questions?

For more information about the disease visit:

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

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