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Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

Traveler with rare disease under quarantine in US

A man with a rare and dangerous form of tuberculosis was placed under quarantine by the US government. The man made two transatlantic flights from Paris and Prague to US and is possible to…

A man with a rare and dangerous form of tuberculosis was placed under quarantine by the US government. The man made two transatlantic flights from Paris and Prague to US and is possible to have affected the other passengers and crew of these two flights.



The Public Health of the United States investigation seeks people who may have been exposed to extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) infected person.



Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated “An individual with drug resistant tuberculosis may have served as a source of exposure. The facts of the case are very straightforward. On May 13 a patient arrived in Paris and had departed on Air France flight 385 from Atlanta. The patient returned to the United States on Czech Air flight 0104 and then entered the United States by car. During these two long flights, the patient may have been a source of infection to the passengers. The passengers most likely to be at risk would be the passengers who were seated in seats immediately close to the patient.”



“And consistent with the World Health Organization guidelines, CDC is recommending that those passengers be notified by their health officials in their responsible country or state, and that such persons then have a test for tuberculosis to determine whether or not they were in fact exposed,” Dr. Gerberding continued.



The man is hospitalized in Atlanta and according to the World Health Organization he is in quarantine. The patient was ordered to be in isolation and is required to stay in isolation until the responsible public health official deems that he is no longer infectious to others.



Dr. Gerberding further commended “We also recognize that other passengers on these two long air trips might be worried about the possibility of exposure, and so we will also be requesting that they be notified, but we don`t think, from past scientific investigation, that their risk is high. We want to offer them the opportunity to be evaluated and tested also. What is unusual about this circumstance is that this patient`s tuberculosis organism was extremely resistant to the TB drugs that we would normally use to treat infection. We know that there`s an emerging problem on a global basis and from time to time it does occur.”



“Normally, when someone has tuberculosis, we influence them through a covenant of trust so that they don`t put themselves in situations where they could potentially expose others. In this case, the patient had compelling personal reasons for traveling and made the decision to go ahead and meet those personal responsibilities. We recognized, after the patient had left the jurisdiction, that the tuberculosis organism was extremely drug resistant and we felt that it was important at that point in time to take our responsibility to protect the public to the ultimate limit and issue a federal order of isolation under the Public Health Service Act that gives us statutory responsibility for issuing quarantine orders.”



The affected airlines and the health ministers around the world are reaching out to their citizens to assist in the assessment and the evaluation and have teamed up with CDC to provide every possible help.

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