Health officials said Tuesday that four additional people have tested positive for tuberculosis in an investigation of the active TB infection of an Olathe Northwest High School student earlier this year.
Officials last month tested 304 students and staff members after a student was found to have an active and potentially contagious case of the disease. Those tests revealed that 27 people had the inactive form of tuberculosis, which is not contagious. About 70 additional people were tested at the high school earlier this month, with four testing positive for the infection.
Health officials have called the four with new positive TB infection test results. Letters were mailed to the homes of those with negative test results showing no infection.
People with TB infection are not contagious, do not feel sick and do not have TB symptoms. People with TB disease can spread the bacteria to others, feel sick and can have symptoms including fever, night sweats, cough and weight loss.
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The people with positive test results will receive a chest X-ray and begin treatment with antibiotics to kill the TB bacteria to prevent the development of TB disease, health officials said. The X-rays and medication will be provided free by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
Blood tests will be repeated May 5 for people who were identified as having been exposed to TB disease during the spring semester of the school year. This second test is done because it can take eight to 10 weeks for TB bacteria to show up in tests.
Anyone with a question about results can call the TB phone line at 913-826-1224. For more information about TB, go to www.cdc.gov/tb, the JCDHE’s website at www.jocogov.org/jcdhe or KDHE’s website at www.kdheks.gov/tuberculosis.