Twenty-seven people at a high school in Olathe, Kansas, have tested positive for tuberculosis, and health officials are trying to figure out how it started.
According to KCTV, one student at Olathe Northwest High School in Kansas’ Johnson County is believed to have contracted the disease, but it’s uncertain how and when he got infected. More than 300 of the Kansas school’s students and staff members were tested for tuberculosis after coming in contact with the individual, and 27 had positive results, even though none of them were showing symptoms. Since the 27 people who had the disease weren’t showing any signs, officials indicated that the friends and family members of those infected don’t need to be tested at this time.
However, another round of blood tests will take place in May for those who have come in contact with an infected person from the Kansas school. Tuberculosis can take eight weeks to show up in the system after initial exposure.
Those who tested positive for tuberculosis were called, and those who had negative results are going to receive a letter. Lougene Marsh, the director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said this case is not as bad as initially expected.
“The number of individuals with TB infection does not exceed what we would anticipate in this setting. Of course, we had hoped we wouldn’t find any additional TB cases, but we knew this was a possibility. That’s why we took such thorough steps to test everyone who might have been in close contact with the first confirmed case of TB disease.”
Kansas health officials added that those infected with tuberculosis will most likely not become contagious, but they are undergoing treatment to get rid of the disease. The individuals will get X-rays of their chest and are required to take antibiotics for nine months to stop the tuberculosis from fully developing.
A 2012 report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment pointed out that the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the state during a 22-year study came in 1995 and 2002, when 89 people were infected with the disease. But since 2006, in which 82 people were diagnosed, the number of cases has decreased. The lowest came in 2011, when only 36 Kansas residents were documented to have been infected with tuberculosis.
This tuberculosis outbreak in Kansas is just the latest report of the disease spreading after people came in contact with someone who had it. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, one hospital employee with the disease exposed more than 700 infants and 40 co-workers. An update from CBS News reported that five of the infants exposed had tested positive for tuberculosis.
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