US places man with TB under quarantine, launches search for contactees

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
Image: TheCustomOfLife.

A man infected with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) has been placed in isolation at Grady Memorial Hospital with an armed guard at the door in Atlanta, Georgia. This marks the first time the United States government has quarantined a person in over 40 years.

The US agency for protecting public health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that this form of tuberculosis, while rare, is "resistant to almost all drugs."

CDC learned that a patient with XDR TB traveled to Europe via commercial airline (Air France # 385) departing Atlanta on May 12 and arriving in Paris on May 13, 2007, and returned to the United States after taking a commercial flight on May 24 from Prague, Czech Republic to Montreal, Canada (Czech Air # 0104). The patient re-entered the U.S. on May 24 via automobile. Since May 25, the patient has been hospitalized in respiratory isolation and is undergoing additional medical evaluation.
— CDC Press Release, May 29, 2007

CDC officials said at a press conference that they are currently seeking to contact 80 fellow passengers on the transatlantic flights. They are concentrating on them because they were exposed for a longer amount of time.

The man, who is from Fulton County, Georgia, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a phone interview, that both he and the CDC knew of his case. Further, he had been asked not to travel, but not specifically prohibited. He wanted to go to Greece for his wedding. He was then contacted by the CDC, while on his honeymoon in Rome, Italy, and asked to turn himself over to Italian health officials.

However, he decided to make his own way back to the US. "I didn't want to put anybody at risk," he said. "We just wanted to come home and get treatment."

CDC phone number for public inquiries

The CDC manages a toll-free phone number for public inquiries.
The public inquiry number is 1-800-CDC-INFO