Drug-Resistant TB Patient in Isolation
Officials Seeking More than 600 Passengers on Patient's Flight; Patient Feeling Well in Hospital
WebMD News Archive
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
The CDC today provided more information on the man's transatlantic
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
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
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.
In an interview in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the patient
told a reporter that he and his wife left the U.S. for their honeymoon.
The man reportedly said he knew he had tuberculosis that hadn't responded to
drug treatments but felt healthy. He says that local officials never told him
not to travel but said they "preferred" he not travel.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the man and his bride flew to
Paris, then Athens, and then Rome. In Rome, he says the CDC called him and
asked him to report for quarantine. Instead, he and his new wife left for
Prague, flew to Montreal, and then drove into the U.S.
The man told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he "didn't
want to put anybody at risk" but feared unsuccessful treatment in