State and local health department officials have identified a single case of active tuberculosis (TB) in a student who attends Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kan. The individual identified is complying with isolation precautions and is receiving medication to treat the illness.
Health officials have begun identifying contacts of the student with active TB and are working to ensure that any additional contacts in the school or community are identified and treated. Letters of information about TB will be sent home today for parents and guardians of Olathe Northwest students.
A forum will be held for students and parents of Olathe Northwest on March 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Olathe Northwest High School commons (21300 College Blvd.). TB experts from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be on hand to present facts about TB and answer questions.
TB is spread through the air by coughing, laughing, singing and sneezing. The only way to contract the disease is by close contact (several hours a day) with someone who has the disease. It cannot be spread by contact with someone's clothing, drinking glass, eating utensils, handshake, toilet or other surfaces. Symptoms of TB can include a cough of longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, chills, fever and coughing up blood.
TB is preventable and curable. TB disease is typically treated for six to nine months with antibiotics. A person with TB will become non-contagious within a few days to weeks of effective treatment and will be able to return to normal activities without risk to others while completing treatment. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment assures that all known active TB cases in the county are followed closely and treated appropriately.
Olathe Public Schools, the Olathe Northwest staff, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are working closely together to investigate this case and assure that all precautions are being taken for the safety of all in the community, especially the students and staff of Olathe Northwest High School.
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