US tuberculosis patient moved to Denver hospital
Thursday, May 31, 2007
A United States man, identified recently as 31-year-old Andrew Speaker from Fulton County, Georgia, has left Grady Memorial Hospital. Officials have confirmed that he was transported on a chartered Learjet overnight to Denver, Colorado. He is now at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, which specializes in respiratory, immune system, and allergy research and treatment.
The National Jewish Medical and Research Center was founded in 1899 to treat tuberculosis, and is today considered one of the world's best medical research and treatment centers. It is a non-sectarian institution but received funding from B'nai B'rith until the 1950s.
Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the complete itinerary of the patient, who travelled to Europe while infected with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
Speaker, an Atlanta-based lawyer, travelled on the following flights, according to the CDC:
|Airlines||Flight#||Date||Departing||Scheduled Departure||Calculated Scheduled Duration||Arriving||Number of Passengers||Patient Seat Row Number|
|Air France / Delta||385 / 8517||5/12/2007||Atlanta, Georgia||8:45 PM Local||8 Hr 27 Min||Paris, France||433||30|
|Air France||1232||5/14/2007||Paris, France||7:35 AM Local||3 Hr 11 Min||Athens, Greece||unknown||unknown|
|Olympic Air||560||5/16/2007||Athens, Greece||7:25 PM Local||0 Hr 40 Min||Thira Island, Greece||unknown||unknown|
|Olympic Air||655||5/21/2007||Mykonos Island, Greece||1:45 PM Local||0 Hr 40 Min||Athens, Greece||unknown||unknown|
|Olympic Air||239||5/21/2007||Athens, Greece||5:30 PM Local||2 Hr 05 Min||Rome, Italy||unknown||unknown|
|Czech Airlines||727||5/24/2007||Rome, Italy||8:50 AM Local||1 Hr 55 Min||Prague, Czech Republic||unknown||unknown|
|Czech Airlines||0104||5/24/2007||Prague, Czech Republic||12:25 PM Local||8 Hr 25 Min||Montreal, Canada||191||12|
US Homeland Security has said it will launch an investigation into CDC officials' handling of this case, which has created an international health incident. The investigation will look into whether the man should have been placed in quarantine and under guard before he had the opportunity to fly to Europe.
Speaker was put on a no-fly list and had his passport flagged. Nevertheless, he still managed to fly to Canada and then drive a car across the border into the United States. A border agent, who has since been suspended from duty, ignored a warning on his computer to put on protective gear and detain Speaker.
Speaker's father-in-law, Bob Cooksey, is a 32-year veteran of the CDC, where he works in the CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination. In a statement issued through the CDC, Cooksey said that although he routinely works with infectious organisms including TB, he was not the cause of his son-in-law's TB.
"As part of my job, I am regularly tested for TB. I do not have TB, nor have I ever had TB," said Cooksey. "My son-in-law's TB did not originate from myself or the CDC's labs, which operate under the highest levels of biosecurity."
CDC phone number for public inquiries
|The CDC manages a toll-free phone number for public inquiries.|
- Greg Bluestein, AP. "TB patient ID'd as Atlanta lawyer" — Yahoo News, May 31, 2007
- Alison Young and Mike Morris. "Infected man moved to Denver" — The Atlanta Constitution-Journal, May 31, 2007
- "TB patient moved from Atlanta quarantine" — CNN, May 31, 2007
- Press Release: "Flight Itinerary of U.S. Traveler with Extensively Drug–Resistant Tuberculosis" — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 30, 2007
- Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, CDC Division of Tuberculosis Elimination