Tuberculosis: 17 Questions and Answers
Confused About Tuberculosis Headlines? Get the Facts
What should passengers on those flights do? continued...
Canadian authorities have
identified the 28 passengers seated in the high-risk rows around Speaker on the
Czech Airlines flight, says Gerberding.
Those passengers -- and anyone
else on those flights -- will be put in touch with local health officials in
their city or state for tuberculosis testing. Since tuberculosis grows slowly,
any initial tests that show tuberculosis would probably stem from infection
before the flights. Follow-up tests two months later would indicate
whether or not any of those travelers got tuberculosis on those
"It's hopeful we're not going
to see a lot of exposure because he probably wasn't terribly contagious,"
Were those the only flights Speaker took on his honeymoon?
No. Speaker and his wife also
took several shorter flights
from France to Greece to Rome and to Prague, Czech Republic.
However, the CDC and World Health
Organization consider the risk of infection to travelers on flights lasting
less than eight hours to be low. Each of those European flights lasted less
than eight hours.
A full list of those flights is
posted on the CDC's web site.
Is it rare for a TB patient to be put in isolation?
The federal isolation order is
rare, "but every state has public health laws," Hamilton
Hamilton notes that in North
Carolina, where she directs the states TB control program, "most people are
happy to follow the advice to stay home [and not travel] until we are sure that
you're not infectious."
"But there are some people who
don't want to do that, in which case we would issue an isolation order."
Most patients comply with isolation orders, but if they don't "we can
compel them to go to prison until they are no longer infectious and they finish
their TB treatment."
Such cases are very rare, Hamilton
notes. "We don't like to do that," she says. "But it's better to do
that than to expose a lot of people."
- Now that you have your
TB questions answered, read aWebMD staffer's personal
scare with accidental exposure to TB and how her family coped
through the crisis. Read more on WebMD's blogs.