Case of active tuberculosis identified at Olathe Northwest High School

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State and local health department officials have identified a single case of active tuberculosis 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. JCDHE will be conducting testing clinics at the school for those who have been identified as contacts. Letters about TB and testing were sent today to staff and parents/guardians of Olathe Northwest students.

A forum will be held for students and parents of Olathe Northwest. TB experts from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment and a TB consultant 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 frequent or close contact with someone who has an active case of 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. JCDHE assures that all known active TB cases in the county are followed closely and treated appropriately.

Olathe Public Schools, the Olathe Northwest staff, JCDHE 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.

For more information about TB, visit

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