Human Interest

U.S. Air Travelers in TB Alert

May 30, 2007 04:42 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
An American citizen infected with a rare form of tuberculosis puts passengers at risk on two transatlantic flights. Health officials advise tests for passengers and crew.

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The infected man flew from Atlanta to Paris with his wife on May 12, 2007. The couple were attending their wedding in Europe.

Doctors had already informed the groom that he was suffering from "extensively drug-resistant" TB, or XDR-TB. The disease was active and contagious. However, the patient, who at time of writing had not been named, claims doctors refrained from telling him not to fly.

The authorities tried to quarantine the patient in Italy. But fearing that he wouldn't receive the same standard of care that is available in the United States, he and his wife decided to return to America via Canada. 

Tuberculosis is an air-borne bacteria that infects the lungs, and causes symptoms such as chest pain, coughing, and bloody mucus.

Drug-resistant strains are harder to treat, and extensively drug-resistant TB is the most difficult to cure.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Julie Gerberding said, "In the next couple of days, we'll be able to say how many people are in the risk zone."

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