Atlanta: Potentially infecting the world with Drug-restitant TB since May 12

I’m not a rocket scientist, but maybe this unnamed man shouldn’t have gone to the wedding:

Gerberding said health officials “usually rely on a covenant of trust to assume that a person with tuberculosis just isn’t going to go into a situation where they would transmit disease to someone else.”

“The patient really was told that he shouldn’t fly,” she added.

“The patient himself was not highly infectious” but there still was a small risk he could transmit the disease to someone else, Gerberding told CNN.

Here’s another gem:

It is the first time in 40 years the federal government has issued a quarantine order for an individual. Gerberding acknowledged that “we kind of had to make up a plan as we went along.”

How unlike the federal government and this administration in particular NOT to have a cogent plan for an emergency situation.

Read the whole CNN article. If this idiot’s name was released they’d lynch him and burn the hospital too.

Visa revocation and house arrest, anyone? Too much? Too little?

Vent a comment.

UPDATE: CL’s Andisheh Nouraee has more. It’s crazy.

UPDATE II: Local blogger and CDCer Duane Moody has another take on the issue, taking umbrage with the media sensationalism angle. The more interesting aspect – one that I tried to be humorous about and Andisheh digs deeper upon – is the Homeland Security portion.

Curiouser and curiouser.

11 Comments so far

  1. k (unregistered) on May 30th, 2007 @ 1:29 pm

    Correct, revocation of all travel privileges, up to and including leaving the house, for at least a year, unless someone he came into contact with contracts TB, in which case forever might be more reasonable. Following the term of house arrest, no leaving without appropriate and verified measures to protect the public.

    I’m sorry this dude has a terrible disease, but my sympathy dwindles to zero when he willfully endangers others.

  2. Some Other Mike (unregistered) on May 30th, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    So, how many of us have been tested for TB, anyway?

    I wonder if this guy is related to the gate-jumper who shut down Hartsfield a few years ago.

    And to tie the two linked articles together, what about the (few) people near this guy in the shoe-checking line, or any shuttles? We are talking about Hartsfield, after all.

  3. hartford,ct (unregistered) on May 30th, 2007 @ 10:18 pm

    this asshole may be “educated”, but his sense of entitlement was nothing less than selfish. he should be lynched for committing global terrorism. hope his TB kills him.

  4. Greg (unregistered) on May 30th, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

    So, how many of us have been tested for TB, anyway?

    I was tested in December of 05 as part of my immigration process which brought up a positive. They treated me with a 6 month course of Isoniazid and sent me on my way. I wasn’t told not to go anywhere, I was just told not to drink while on the medication as it would kill my liver.

    So call me old fashioned, but it’s nice to know that a treatable disease can still round up the flaming torches and pitchforks

  5. Maigh (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 6:25 am

    Here’s what has me confused: he’s a man and he *had* to go to a wedding? That badly? Psha. There’s a woman and a metric assload of guilt somewhere to be blamed for this.

  6. Maigh (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 6:53 am

    Ahhh it wasn’t a wedding, it was *his* honeymoon. Still. Woman –> guilt. Mark my pessimistic words.

  7. abby (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 9:15 am

    I also had to get a scratch test for TB to register for grad school at tech. Was fairly certain I would actually contract it in the clinic anyway, and the test was completely moot. A moo test.

    And Greg – the particular strain this guy had is “untreatable” with regular TB drugs. Says AJC, “it is far more difficult to treat because it resists at least two of the most potent anti-TB drugs … and at least three of the six secondary drugs.”

    So it’s not any more deadly or contagious than regular ole TB, it’s just hard to kill.

    On the other hand, AJC’s “his side of the story” article says that the health department “told him they “preferred” that he not travel. But reluctant to cancel his long-planned wedding, the man said he asked what does ‘prefer’ mean? Does it mean I can’t, the man asked. But even when health officials were quizzed, the TB patient said they never told him he couldn’t travel.”

    I could see that happening — no one wants to make an executive decision so they rely on dainty language like “prefer” instead of “in the name of general public safety and security we will not permit you to travel.”

  8. duane (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 10:30 am

    For all those that are freaking out about “this particular, untreated strain of TB”, have you looked at the number of cases that occur in a year? In 13 YEARS, there have only been 49 cases. This is the same as the sensationalism that was the case with SARS; blow something out of proportion for the sole purpose of scaring people about something which should not be a concern of theirs.

    Yes, the guy shouldn’t have travelled, but even he said that they only recommended that he not travel; there was no distinct mandate against his travel plans. Even so, EVEN CDC says that the risk of transmitting or being infected by TB OF ANY KIND is relatively low.

    You never know how many times a day you come in contact with things that are far worse than TB, and even with TB itself, and you don’t even know it, and you probably don’t get infected.

    One case of drug resistant TB should not be getting this much press. It is media sensationalism at its worst, and it is a shameful and horrible misuse of the good that public health can truly do. They got the guy. They are contacting and testing the people that were exposed. That should be THE END of the story.

    The whole media circus makes me want to barf.

    And I am totally confident with what I am saying, considering that I am a public health professional disease specialist, and all.

  9. George Burdell (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

    Funny you correlate him with the gate jumper, Some Other Mike, as it was just revealed the TB carrier is a UGA grad. Seems like they have trouble following airport/flying rules.

  10. duane (unregistered) on May 31st, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

    Oh, I guess I wasn’t allowed to comment…

  11. dana (unregistered) on June 1st, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

    The problem with the doctors telling him that he shouldn’t travel, is that they have no actual authority over it.

    From what I can tell, only when the CDC got additional test results back while he was already in Europe (Italy, I think), was he put on the ‘no fly’ list. Which appears to be only for flights landing in the US, as he just knowingly hopped on a Canadian flight.

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