TB Screening Requirements (Foreign-Born Students)

Arkansas State Law requires any person born in a country where Tuberculosis is endemic, who is not a permanent resident, and who receives instruction in a room in which other students are are present, be screened for TB. Because TB is so common globally, it is easier to list countries of low TB prevalence rather than high. Persons from these countries are EXEMPT from the TB screening requirement.

International students from countries where tuberculosis is endemic will have a “See Health Services” hold placed on their BOSS account. The hold will not be removed until the student (1) provides evidence of a prior TSPOT completed in the United States or Canada within the last 6 months, or (2) completes the tuberculosis screening requirement as described below:

A. Obtain TSPOT lab work at UA Little Rock Health Services. The blood sample is sent to our off-site laboratory, Oxford Diagnostics. Results usually are available within 48 hours.
OR
B.Obtain TSPOT  lab work elsewhere. Submit proof to Health Services for review. Proof must contain the following information:

  • your name
  • date of birth
  • date of TSPOT
  • test results (Negative or Positive)
  • name and address of provider

There are actually 3 possible results from the TSPOT lab-work:
1. NEGATIVE: There is no sign of TB infection. No further follow up is required. The hold on BOSS will be removed.
2.  BORDERLINE: Results are uncertain; a repeat blood test is required in 4-6 weeks.
3.  POSITIVE:  TB bacteria is present, indicating likely TB infection. TB infection does NOT mean active TB.  TB bacteria can live in your body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing.

If your results are positive, an RN from Health Services will contact you and ask you to return to the clinic. During the return visit, the RN will provide instructions for getting a chest x-ray at Radiology Associates. After the chest x-ray is complete, Radiology Associates will provide you with a copy of your chest x-ray on a disc. This disc MUST be returned to Health Services. Health Services staff will hand-deliver the x-ray and required paperwork to the Arkansas Department of Health TB Clinic to determine if further evaluation is necessary. If no further action is needed, your hold will be removed.

Also during the return visit, the RN will talk about a medication that can reduce the risk of developing active tuberculosis by 90%. Through a partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health, this medication (valued at over $600 per student) is provided at no cost. Students who accept the medication will visit the clinic weekly (for 12 consecutive weeks) to take the medication. Students who finish the full 12 week course of medication, are no longer required to get an annual chest x-ray (unless he/she later develops symptoms). Students who decline the medication will be required to get an annual chest x-ray as long as they are a student at UA Little Rock.