Fliers Warned About Tuberculosis
CDC Tells Passengers on Flights With Drug-Resistant-Tuberculosis Patient to Get Tested
WebMD News Archive
"Passengers most likely to be at risk would be the passengers who were
seated in seats immediately close to the patient," Gerberding says.
She notes that the man's tuberculosis didn't appear to be highly contagious.
"In fact, the medical evidence would suggest that his potential for
transmission would be on the low side, but we know it isn't zero,"
"We also want to reassure people who weren't on these flights that their
risk of exposure on a random air flight is extremely low, and we're not
concerned about a generic threat to travelers," Gerberding says.
Before leaving the U.S., the patient knew he had tuberculosis and, like all
tuberculosis patients, had been advised not to travel, according to
But he didn't know his tuberculosis was extremely resistant to drugs, and he
felt he had a "compelling reason" to travel, says Gerberding, who
declined to elaborate on the patient's reason for traveling.
Gerberding says the CDC didn't know that the man had XDR TB until after he
left the U.S.
His departure surprised the CDC but wasn't illegal, says Gerberding.
"From our perspective, no laws were broken here," she says.
It's not yet clear how or where the man contracted tuberculosis, Gerberding
About XDR TB
Since 1993, the CDC has gotten reports of 49 people in the U.S. who have had
"Unfortunately, that's not true in many other parts of the world, so
many people who have XDR TB do not survive their infection," Gerberding
told reporters today.
"That's part of the reason why we're taking this situation so seriously
and why we took this unusual step of issuing a federal isolation order in an
effort to curtail any additional possibility of exposure to passengers or
others that were potentially in harm's way," says Gerberding.
In March, Gerberding told a congressional subcommittee that XDR TB has been
found in 17 countries from all regions of the world, most frequently in the
former Soviet Union and Asia.
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