OLATHE, Kan. — Four new tuberculosis cases have been linked to a Johnson County high school.
The Health Dept. has been offering tests at Olathe Northwest, where a student tested positive for tuberculosis this month.
We talked with a doctor at the Univ. of Kansas Health System about what this means for the community.
The Johnson County Health Dept. said four more people have tested positive for tuberculosis, also noting, those people are asymptomatic.
Earlier this month, health leaders identified a case of active tuberculosis in an Olathe Northwest High School student.
The Health Dept. began offering tuberculosis testing for the school.
Of 425 initial contacts, more than 270 people have been tested so far, and four tested positive, according to the health department.
The health department said those people are not showing symptoms, and they’ve been referred for follow-up evaluations.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson said there are two major types of tuberculosis: active and latent.
“Those people with latent tuberculosis, they don’t have active symptoms. At that point, they are not contagious to anyone else,” Hawkinson said. “So, people around them, don’t have to worry. That person doesn’t have to worry that they’re getting anyone around them sick.”
Hawkinson said active tuberculosis form is contagious, but not as contagious as other common illnesses.
“In general, tuberculosis, even when you are around someone with active disease, is not as contagious as say something as influenza, other cough and cold viruses, COVID-19,” Hawkinson said. “It does take time that you need to be around that person.”
The health department said the student who had active tuberculosis form was complying with isolation precautions and was receiving medication for the illness.
Hawkinson said Latent tuberculosis can turn into active tuberculosis if it’s not treated. So, it’s important to follow up with a doctor and get on the right medication.
The school will have a second round of testing on Nov. 14, according to the health department.
Once all the results have been processed, the health department will release more information.