315 students at Olathe Northwest High School to be tested for TB

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OLATHE, Kan. - A student at Olathe Northwest High School has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis and now health officials deemed it necessary that 315 students be tested for the disease.

"Our primary strategy is to identify individuals who have had contact with the individual who has the disease to determine their risk, to do testing if that's what's appropriate," said Lougene Marsh, Director of the Johnson County Health and Environment Department.

Letters of information about TB were to go home with students on Wednesday and a forum to answer questions is scheduled for March 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Olathe Northwest High School commons, 21300 College Blvd.

READ: Letter from Olathe Northwest to Teachers, Students and Parents

The student is complying with isolation precautions and is receiving medication, according to the Johnson County Health & Environment Dept.

After a few days to weeks of effective treatment, tuberculosis is typically no longer contagious. During its contagious stage, it is spread through the air by coughing, laughing, sneezing and singing. The only way to contact the disease is by close contact with the infected person.

"Our biggest thing that we need to pass along to parents is TB infection is the result of being exposed to someone with TB disease, but to have TB infection, does not mean you're sick. To have TB infection, is not something you can transmit," said Phil Griffin, from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Symptoms of TB can include a cough of longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats, chills, fever and coughing up blood.

For more information on TB, click here.