Tuberculosis Information

All students must complete tuberculosis screening before obtaining health clearance for registration

What is Tuberculosis or TB? Why is it important?
This is an infection that most commonly affects the lungs. TB is spread by germs that can float in the air. If a person with active TB disease coughs, shouts, or sneezes, people nearby can breathe in the TB germs into their lungs and become infected.

How do I test for TB?
The test for TB is called PPD. It can be performed at Health Services at no charge. A small amount of liquid is injected into the skin of your arm. A nurse must examine and "read" your arm between 48 to 72 hours later. This will complete the test. If a reading is not made in that time period, the test will have to be repeated.

What does a negative reaction mean?
A negative PPD is seen by little to no swelling on your arm, and means that there is probably no TB Bacteria in your body. At this point, you will be considered screened, and no further action will be needed.

What does a positive reaction mean?
A positive PPD can be seen by the kind of reaction your skin has to the injection. It means that TB Bacteria has entered your body at some point. Very often, international students may get a positive PPD because they come from countries that vaccinate against TB. That BCG or MANTOUX vaccination put a small amount of TB Bacteria in your body. This does not necessarily mean you have active TB, but after a positive PPD, you are required to get a chest X-ray.

What does a chest x-ray show?
A chest x-ray is required after a positive PPD result. If you have health insurance, the cost may be covered. The X-ray shows whether you have active TB. Even if the chest X-ray does not show TB, the Health Services staff will need to evaluate whether you require medication to prevent the development of Tuberculosis. You will receive an appointment at the Onondaga County Health Center and directions on how to go there.

Health Services Clearance for International Students

New York State public health laws require that all students provide documentary evidence of immunizations (measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis). The following information is required:


  • TWO Doses of live measles vaccine, the first one administered on or after the first birthday, after 1967, and the second after 15 months of age. There must be an interval of at least 30 days between the first and second doses of vaccine.
  • Or serological proof of antibodies to measles
  • Or physician-diagnosed disease.

Rubella (German measles)

  • One dose of vaccine given on or after the first birthday
  • Or serological evidence of antibodies to rubella


  • One dose of vaccine on or after the first birthday
  • Or serological evidence of antibodies to mumps
  • Or physician-diagnosed disease


  • A completed response related to meningococcal meningitis vaccine indicating that the student has either been immunized within the preceding 10 years or has opted not to obtain immunization against meningococcal disease.

Vaccinations are available at SU Health Services and range in price from $75 to $375. Vaccines available include hepatitis A and B, measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus, polio, meningococcus, and varicella.