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CDC: 107 people on TB flights need tests

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CDC: 107 people on TB flights need tests

Old 05-30-07, 02:27 PM
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CDC: 107 people on TB flights need tests

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070530/...osis_infection

CDC: 107 people on TB flights need tests

By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

A man with a form of tuberculosis so dangerous he is under the first U.S. government-ordered quarantine since 1963 had health officials around the world scrambling Wednesday to find about 80 passengers who sat within five rows of him on two trans-Atlantic flights.

The man told a newspaper he took the first flight from Atlanta to Europe for his wedding, then the second flight home because he feared he might die without treatment in the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Julie Gerberding said Wednesday that the CDC is working closely with airlines to find passengers who may have been exposed to the rare, dangerous strain. Health officials in France said they have asked Air France-KLM for passenger lists, and the Italian Health Ministry said it is tracing the man's movements.

"Is the patient himself highly infectious? Fortunately, in this case, he's probably not," Gerberding said. "But the other piece is this bacteria is a very deadly bacteria. We just have to err on the side of caution."

Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC's division of global migration and quarantine, said Wednesday that the agency was trying to contact 27 crew members from the two flights for testing and about 80 passengers who sat in the five rows surrounding the man. About 40 or 50 of those people sat in or near Row 51 on the Air France flight from Atlanta to Paris, and about 30 passengers were in or near seat 12C on the second flight, from Prague to Montreal.

Health officials said the man had been advised not to fly and knew he could expose others when he boarded the jets.

The man, however, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that doctors didn't order him not to fly and only suggested he put off his long-planned wedding in Greece. He knew he had a form of tuberculosis and that it was resistant to first-line drugs, but he didn't realize until he was already in Europe that it could be so dangerous, he said.

"We headed off to Greece thinking everything's fine," said the man, who declined to be identified because of the stigma attached to his diagnosis.

He flew to Paris on May 12 aboard Air France Flight 385, also listed as Delta Air Lines codeshare Flight 8517. While he was in Europe, health authorities reached him with the news that further tests had revealed his TB was a rare, "extensively drug-resistant" form, far more dangerous than he knew. They ordered him into isolation, saying he should turn himself over to Italian officials.

Instead, the man flew from Prague to Montreal on May 24 aboard Czech Air Flight 0104, then drove into the United States at Champlain, N.Y. He told the newspaper he was afraid that if he didn't get back to the U.S., he wouldn't get the treatment he needed to survive.

He is now at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital in respiratory isolation.

A spokesman for Denver's National Jewish Hospital, which specializes in respiratory disorders, said Wednesday that the man would be treated there. It was not clear when he would arrive, spokesman William Allstetter said.

"The patient continues to feel well and be asymptomatic. He's currently still in isolation," Cetron said Wednesday. Citing privacy concerns, he said the CDC "cannot and won't talk further about this patient."

The other passengers on the flights are not considered at high risk of infection because tests indicated the amount of TB bacteria in the man was low, Cetron said.

But Gerberding noted that U.S. health officials have had little experience with this type of TB. It's possible it may have different transmission patterns, she said.

"We're thankful the patient was not in a highly infectious state, but we know the risk of transmission isn't zero, even with the fact that he didn't have symptoms and didn't appear to be coughing," Gerberding said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"We've got to really look at the people closest to him, get them skin tested."

Dr. Howard Njoo of the Public Health Agency of Canada said it appeared unlikely that the man spread the disease on the flight into Canada. Still the agency was working with U.S. officials to contact passengers who sat near him.

Daniela Hupakova, a spokeswoman for the Czech airline CSA, said the flight crew underwent medical checks and are fine. The airline was contacting passengers and cooperating with Czech and foreign authorities, she said. Health officials in France have asked Air France-KLM to provide lists of passengers seated within two rows of the man, an airline spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity according to company policy.

The man told the Journal-Constitution he was in Rome during his honeymoon when the CDC notified him of the new tests and told him to turn himself in to Italian authorities to be isolated and be treated. The CDC told him he couldn't fly aboard commercial airliners.

"I thought to myself: You're nuts. I wasn't going to do that. They told me I had been put on the no-fly list and my passport was flagged," the man said.

He told the newspaper he and his wife decided to sneak back into the U.S. through Canada. He said he voluntarily went to a New York hospital, then was flown by the CDC to Atlanta.

He is not facing prosecution, health officials said.

"I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person," he told the paper. "This is insane to me that I have an armed guard outside my door when I've cooperated with everything other than the whole solitary-confinement-in-Italy thing."

CDC officials told The Associated Press they could not immediately comment on the interview.

Health officials said the man's wife tested negative for TB before the trip and is not considered a public health risk. They said they don't know how the Georgia man was infected.

The quarantine order was the first since the government quarantined a patient with smallpox in 1963, according to the CDC.

Tuberculosis is caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. It usually affects the lungs and can lead to symptoms such as chest pain and coughing up blood. It kills nearly 2 million people each year worldwide.

Because of antibiotics and other measures, the TB rate in the United States has been falling for years. Last year, it hit an all-time low of 13,767 cases, or about 4.6 cases per 100,000 Americans.

Health officials worry about "multidrug-resistant" TB, which can withstand the mainline antibiotics isoniazid and rifampin. The man was infected with something even worse "extensively drug-resistant" TB, also called XDR-TB, which resists many drugs used to treat the infection.

There have been 17 U.S. XDR-TB cases since 2000, according to CDC statistics.

___

Associated Press writers Malcolm Ritter in New York and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.

___

On the Net:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/

Public Health Agency of Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/
"I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person," he told the paper. Also in the story, how he feared he might die without treatment in the U.S. And, he and his wife decided to sneak back into the U.S. through Canada.
Old 05-30-07, 02:34 PM
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Reckless endangerment. His ass should be under lock and key.
Old 05-30-07, 07:25 PM
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only 5 rows?
the way those planes recirculate the air it should be the whole plane
Old 05-30-07, 07:29 PM
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There's a guy still under quarantine here in AZ with this strain. He went outside repeated times after being Court ordered not to and he didn't comply. Now he's sitting in jail, in a floor all to himself, and hasn't been allowed out in more than 6 months.
Old 05-30-07, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
There's a guy still under quarantine here in AZ with this strain. He went outside repeated times after being Court ordered not to and he didn't comply. Now he's sitting in jail, in a floor all to himself, and hasn't been allowed out in more than 6 months.
But did they figure out which drugs he responds to?
Old 05-30-07, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
only 5 rows?
the way those planes recirculate the air it should be the whole plane
I would think so too.
Old 05-30-07, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Cool Kitten
But did they figure out which drugs he responds to?
He's not responding to anything, from what I've seen.

Here's a google search with him so you can read more about it: http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...ona+TB+patient

And I was wrong, he's been locked up almost a year now.
Old 05-30-07, 07:49 PM
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Man, I'm flying next week. I wonder how often stuff like this happens and nobody even knows.
Old 05-31-07, 12:49 PM
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Turns out the guy is an Atlanta Lawyer. Oops!
Old 05-31-07, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
Turns out the guy is an Atlanta Lawyer. Oops!
Soon to be broke from all the lawsuits against him. And disbarred.
Old 05-31-07, 01:06 PM
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I think being broke and disbarred is the least of his worries.

but what an asshat.
Old 05-31-07, 01:28 PM
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Two words....

.... selfish bastard!
Old 05-31-07, 01:32 PM
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agreed benedict
Old 05-31-07, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by benedict
.... selfish bastard!
Yeah, we found that out in deftones last post.
Old 05-31-07, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
Turns out the guy is an Atlanta Lawyer. Oops!
And his dad works for the CDC! lol
Old 05-31-07, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by steak-too
And his dad works for the CDC! lol
His Dad works for the CDC on TB stuff. Coincidence?
Old 05-31-07, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lordwow
His Dad works for the CDC on TB stuff. Coincidence?
He does? Wow.

Certainly was reckless to travel. Hopefully no one will be infected. It was said that the risk of other people getting infected was low at least.
Old 05-31-07, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
He does? Wow.

Certainly was reckless to travel. Hopefully no one will be infected. It was said that the risk of other people getting infected was low at least.
Ya, it's the headline story on cnn.com right now. Father-in-Law I should have said.
Old 05-31-07, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
Turns out the guy is an Atlanta Lawyer. Oops!
A personal injury lawyer at that!
Old 05-31-07, 03:37 PM
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If a thread has "TB" in the title, shouldn't there be pics of erect nipples under shirts somewhere, or is that regional thing?
Old 05-31-07, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dead
A personal injury lawyer at that!
And his doctor didn't expressly tell him not to fly. My guess is that he sues the doctor and the airport for not having better warnings.
Old 05-31-07, 05:14 PM
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My local news just ran a blurb on the guy - Looks like having TB isn't his only concern!

Last edited by Bronkster; 05-31-07 at 05:16 PM. Reason: edited to resize the image :p
Old 05-31-07, 06:42 PM
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Supposedly, a border patrol agent let the guy in at the US/Canada border, even though there being a huge warning in the computer not to. Looks like there are all kinds of people in trouble on this one.
Old 05-31-07, 08:27 PM
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What the hell is the TB man doing with Paris Hilton?
Old 05-31-07, 09:01 PM
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i know, his wife is all sexy and stuff...in a TB kinda way..........hahhahaha treated without the R as seen in the second pic above..hahahhahaa nice

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