Thursday, May 31, 2007

All About Me, Part Deux

Seems our TB man is still in the news. Now he has a name and there is a bit more to the story.

Of course . . .

The father-in-law of the tuberculosis patient under the first federal quarantine since 1963 works as a microbiologist at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory that studies TB and other bacterial infections.

Well isn't that special.

"I'm hoping and praying that he's getting the proper treatment, that my daughter is holding up mentally and physically," Cooksey told The Associated Press. "Had I known that my daughter was in any risk, I would not allow her to travel."

Would not have allowed his daughter to travel.

I am not a microbiologist, but I don't think one contracts TB by traveling.

Below from the AJC (requires signing up):

As airline passengers around the world worried about whether they were exposed to the drug-resistent TB, public health experts were trying to figure out how Speaker was able to jet off on his honeymoon with the knowledge of government officials.

The case, which has spawned an international health incident involving investigations in several countries, raises difficult questions about balancing the rights of an individual with the needs to protect the public, they said.

The rights of an individual vs. the rights of everyone else in close proximity. Seems pretty obvious to me.

This guy forfeited his rights when he left the country AMA (against medical advice).

While he was honeymooning in Rome, CDC officials asked him to agree to indefinite isolation in an Italian hospital. Instead he fled. Despite the CDC putting the man on airlines' "no fly" lists and having his passport flagged, the man and his bride were able to elude health authorities and sneak back into the United States by flying to Canada and driving across the border last week.

Well that's a bit disconcerting.

Fulton County and Georgia state health officials said they believe Speaker was clearly informed that he shouldn't travel. But they also acknowledge that despite their conversations, as of May 10 they knew he intended to leave the country for his wedding. They also discussed with CDC officials Speaker's intent to fly for at least two days prior to him boarding a May 12 Atlanta to Paris flight, according to CDC spokesman Tom Skinner and Georgia's state epidemiologist Susan Lance.

And it didn't occur to anyone to put him on a no-fly list then and flag his passport?

Skinner said Fulton County health officials contacted CDC on May 10 and said that Speaker, who at the time was diagnosed with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, had told them he planned fly aboard airlines. The discussions continued on May 11, Skinner said. "We discussed with them several options to prohibit him from flying," Skinner said. All of those options involved actions that needed to be taken by state or local health authorities, he said.

Reminds me of the Freddie Prinze line from Chico and the Man . . . "it's not my job, man".

Fulton County health officials have said they tried to hand deliver Speaker a medical order telling him he could not travel, but that his home was vacant and he was not at his office when they tried to serve him with it on May 11.

OK, but . . .

The man was on Air France flight 385 from Atlanta to Paris on May 12

So where was he on the 11th?

Why couldn't he be located?

This situation is frightening to say the least. On the surface, you have a self-serving individual who is willing to put his own pleasure ahead of the safety of others, including his new bride. You also have a level of apparent incompetence when it comes to public health officials protecting the general population.


[In case you missed it, Part 1 is here]

Other Bloggers comment:
ScienceBlog and the WSJ
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