Olathe Northwest high school holds forum for concerned parents

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OLATHE, Kan. --  Olathe Northwest high school hosted a forum Tuesday night to answer questions after a student tested positive for tuberculosis.

The meeting was to help parents feel confident that the risk of transmission is low and said students have less than a one percent chance of catching the disease.

One dad in attendance said the  stigma of exposure was impacting  his daughter negatively because people don't fully understand the disease.

"She had one of her friends that doesn't want to be next to her right now because she's supposedly exposed," John Ludwig said.

Another mother at the meeting also expressed concern.

"The concern I had is that everyone wanted to know that the blood test is going to confirm it most definitely and knowing that there's going to be a second blood set is all the more authentic to me," Carrie Thomas said.

The school said they will test the 320 students and 20 staff members who had contact with the infected student. Students who are being tested should get their results back between Friday and next Monday. All of the students will be tested again in early May because it takes about eight weeks for antibodies to show up.

The student who tested positive for tuberculosis remains in isolation but is doing much better, according to health officials.

Experts said if someone has a tuberculosis "infection" they cannot transmit it to someone else. The disease is typically passed along through prolonged close contact after it's been cough or sneezed into the air.

The symptoms of tuberculosis include a long-lasting productive cough, severe night sweats, chills, fever, chest pain, and blood in mucus.

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