TB patient fled ahead of health authorities: CDC

Updated on May 31, 2007 08:07 PM IST
A man infected with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis flees across Europe to avoid detention, taking flight after flight to stay ahead of public health officials, says a US body.
HT Image
HT Image
Reuters | ByMaggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Washington

A man infected with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis fled across Europe to avoid detention, taking flight after flight to stay ahead of public health officials, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

The CDC said the patient, who was isolated after he arrived in the United States, is not likely to have been highly infectious, but they had to act because of his behavior.

He has a difficult-to-treat form of TB called extensive drug resistant TB, or XDR TB.

"We believe that his degree of infectiousness is quite low," Dr Martin Cetron, director of the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told a news conference.

But just in case, the CDC, the World Health Organization and national health authorities in Europe are looking for 70 to 80 people who sat near him on long, trans-Atlantic flights.

The man, now being held under isolation in a hospital near his home in Atlanta, had been told by state health officials he had a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.

"They clearly told him not to travel," Cetron said.

"In this instance, the reason for use of a federal isolation order is because of the nature of international travel and the potential for interstate spread," he added.

"We don't take this authority lightly."

The CDC has been evaluating its quarantine powers amid recent fears of a pandemic of influenza. The H5N1 strain of avian influenza has killed 186 people out of 307 infected, and experts believe it could change into a form that transmits easily from one person to another, sparking a pandemic.

Experts repeatedly point out that anyone could carry any virus around the world on a single flight.

"Anyone who's sick shouldn't be getting on an aircraft. And that is a basic principle for any contagious disease," Dr Ken Castro, CDC's director of tuberculosis elimination, told the news conference.

Balancing freedoms

Cetron said, "In many ways we balance individual freedoms and the public good and we depend on a covenant of public trust."

The patient told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper that he had been in Italy on his honeymoon. He knew he had multi-drug resistant TB but traveled anyway.

When authorities told him he had XDR TB, which is much harder to treat, they also told him he would be banned from flying. He told the newspaper that he and his new wife decided to flee, flying from Italy to Prague, and from there to Montreal, where they drove across the border from Canada to New York.

The man, who began his trip by flying from Atlanta to Paris and then to Greece, told the newspaper he did not want to put anyone at risk but wanted to get home for treatment.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Smoke rising above the area following an alleged explosion in Dzhankoi district, Crimea. (Reuters)

    Vladimir Putin says US trying to ‘prolong’ Ukraine conflict

    Kyiv/Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington on Tuesday of drawing out the war in Ukraine, as explosions rocked a Russian military facility on the Kremlin-controlled peninsula of Crimea. The first UN-chartered vessel laden with grain meanwhile left Ukraine for Africa following a hallmark deal brokered by Turkey and the UN to relieve a global food crisis.

  • President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden exit Marine One at Charleston Executive Airport, SC. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    US first lady tests Covid positive days after President Joe Biden recovers

    She had been vacationing with President Joe Biden in South Carolina when she began experiencing symptoms on Monday. She has been prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and will isolate at the vacation home for at least five days.

  • British Royal Air Force pilots aboard a military aircraft. (RAF/ Facebook)

    Britain’s RAF flights transporting ammunition from Pakistan to Ukraine?

    Britain's Royal Air Force has been running near-daily flights with a C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft from Romania to an airbase in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi since early this month, data from flight tracking websites have shown. It was not immediately clear what sort of equipment was being airlifted by the massive RAF aircraft. The flights involved a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III of the RAF with the call sign 'ZZ173'.

  • The auctioning of abandoned contents is a common practice for storage units with unpaid bills.

    Human remains 'found in suitcases' sold at N. Zealand auction

    New Zealand police have begun a homicide investigation after human remains were allegedly found stashed in suitcases that were bought at an auction in the country's largest city Auckland. Read New Zealand welcomes back first cruise ship since Covid-19 pandemic began Residents at a home in South Auckland called police last Thursday after making the grisly discovery, police official Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua confirmed.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Putin slams US for whipping up Asian tensions with Taiwan visit and AUKUS pact

    Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Tuesday of whipping up tensions in Asia, describing a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a "thoroughly planned provocation". In a speech to a Moscow security conference, Putin also cited the AUKUS security pact between Australia, Britain and the United States as evidence of Western attempts to build a NATO-style bloc in the Asia-Pacific region.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now