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Drug-Resistant TB Patient in Isolation

Officials Seeking More than 600 Passengers on Patient's Flight; Patient Feeling Well in Hospital
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 30, 2007 -- Health officials are reaching out to more than 600 people who flew on recent transatlantic flights with a man who has extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB).

XDR TB is an infectious disease spread from person to person through the air. Unlike most tuberculosis cases, XDR TB resists the first and second preferred drug treatments.

The man remains under a federal isolation order at an Atlanta hospital. He "continues to feel well" and shows no obvious signs of his tuberculosis, says Martin Cetron, MD, director of the CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.

The man's tuberculosis doesn't appear to be highly contagious, Cetron notes, but about 80 people on both flights may be at the highest risk since they were sitting in his row or in the two rows in front of or behind his seat.

Plans are under way to transport the man to Denver for treatment at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. The CDC is helping with the logistics of those plans so as not to endanger other travelers, Cetron notes.

Patient's Flights

The CDC today provided more information on the man's transatlantic flights.

On May 12, he flew from Atlanta to Paris on Air France flight 385. His exact seat on that flight isn't clear, but it may have been around row 51, Cetron notes. There were 433 passengers and 18 crew members on that flight. About 40-50 passengers were in the high-risk seats near the patient.

On May 24, the man flew from Prague in the Czech Republic to Montreal on Czech Air flight 0104 in seat 12C. There were 191 passengers and nine crew members on that flight. About 30 passengers were in the high-risk seats near the man.

So far, health authorities haven't reached passengers on those flights, but some have come forward after hearing about the situation. Passengers on those flights can call the CDC at (800) CDC-INFO for more information, says Cetron.

The man also took several other flights: from France to Greece; from Greece to Italy; and from Italy to Prague. But because those flights are shorter than eight hours, they aren't considered as risky for tuberculosis transmission by World Health Organization standards.

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