Kansas high school finds 27 positive tuberculosis cases

(Reuters) - Twenty-seven people have tested positive for tuberculosis at a suburban Kansas City high school where a student was recently found to have an active case, Kansas state and county health officials said on Wednesday. Health officials have tested more than 300 students and staff at Olathe Northwest High School after possible exposure to tuberculosis since the active case was reported two weeks ago, officials said. Lougene Marsh, the director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said the number of people with TB infection does not exceed expectations. "Early identification and treatment of TB infection is the key to preventing progression to TB disease," Marsh said in a statement. Those who tested positive will receive chest X-rays and antibiotics paid for by the state and county to kill the bacteria and stop the disease from developing, officials said. They were notified starting on Monday. People whose tests were negative for tuberculosis will be notified by letter, they said. They will be retested on May 5 because it can take up to eight weeks for the bacteria to show up in a test after exposure. People with latent tuberculosis infection are not contagious, do not feel sick, and do not have symptoms, health officials said. Without treatment, 5 percent to 10 percent develop TB disease, which is infectious, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of the disease include fever, night sweats, cough and weight loss. (Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Eric Walsh)