Tuberculosis (TB)

A green stethoscope against a white background.

The following is based on information provided by the North Yorkshire Health Protection Unit.

What is TB?

Tuberculosis is an illness caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis) but can affect other parts of the body.

Tuberculosis develops slowly. When first exposed to the infection there may be no symptoms. In some cases the infection heals itself. However, some people go on to develop disease and become unwell. These people will need treatment to recover.

What are the symptoms of TB?

  • fever and night sweats, coughing and weight loss for more than three weeks
  • coughing up blood in phlegm
  • enlarged lymph glands, commonly in the neck area

Who is at risk of TB?

Most adults are protected against the disease, but some people have a higher chance of catching the illness including:

  • people who live in the same household as a person with TB of the lungs
  • people with immune deficiency, chronic ill health or alcohol dependency
  • people living in overcrowded, poor housing conditions
  • people from countries where TB is more common

In crisis now

Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.

Further information

Who to contact

  • Open 9am to 5pm, Mon - Thurs; 10am to 5pm, Fri (UG term-time)
    10am to 4pm, Mon - Fri (all other times)

How can TB be prevented?

By immunisation with the BCG vaccine, or by screening or checking for TB in:

  • people from areas of the world where TB is more common
  • people working in high-risk areas, eg some health workers
  • close contact with people who have TB

Risk can also be minimised by improving housing conditions, avoiding overcrowding and poor ventilation, and by eating a balanced healthy diet.

Is TB curable?

Yes. Modern treatment is very effective. Treatment usually consists of a course of two, three or four antibiotics, taken for several months, usually six months.

I am an international student, will I be treated for TB?

During university orientation,  if you are from a country where TB is more common, staff from the Harrogate District Foundation Trust (NHS) will offer you, and any family who have travelled to the UK with you, the opportunity to be screened for TB. Tuberculosis Flag Poster (PDF , 164kb) 

This will give us the opportunity to find out if you have been affected by TB,‌ so that we can offer you treatment. This is a free service. Read the Tuberculosis Screening Leaflet (PDF , 209kb)

What happens at a TB screening?

The TB Team will conduct a brief interview to assess if you have any symptoms suggestive of TB.

If you have already had the BCG vaccination and are not ill, you will still be asked to take part in TB screening. Even if this has already been done in your country of origin, we will request to see your certificate, and Latent TB Screening is still advised if not previously carried out.  

A health questionnaire will be followed by a skin test and, depending on the result, a blood test or chest x-ray.

Depending on these results you maybe referred to a specialist doctor if the blood test is positive or if your chest x-ray shows infection.

Find out more about TB and screenings through Unity Health.