Olathe high school tests hundreds for tuberculosis after student tests positive

Several hundred people were being tested for tuberculosis Thursday at Olathe Northwest High School after being exposed to the illness.

Health officials identified around 425 people who had contact with a student who tested positive earlier this month, said Jennifer Dunlay, a spokeswoman for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

The majority of those contacts have connections to Olathe Northwest, but some live outside Johnson County.

Around 270 people consented to be tested Thursday at the school.

The department will conduct another round of testing in mid-November because it can take eight to 10 weeks for bacteria to appear positive in a TB test. Some people from the current round of testing will need to be tested again at that point.

Dunlay said the risk to the general public remains low, as tuberculosis can only be spread through frequent and prolonged exposure to someone with an active case of the disease. Symptoms include a long cough, coughing blood, fever, chills or night sweats.