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Officials Admit Errors in TB Case

Officials, Patient at Odds Over Travel Warnings

No Benefit of the Doubt continued...

Gerberding suggested officials hesitated to inform the World Health Organization and European governments until it was clear Speaker was positive for XDR TB. But she suggested that a bigger mistake was not moving more swiftly to detain Speaker in Europe when he had already traveled against medical advice and was likely to do so again.

“What we have learned is that when a patient is not willing to cooperate, we cannot give that person the benefit of the doubt any more,” Gerberding said.

Speaker, who testified by phone from quarantine at National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado, maintained that doctors at the May 10 meeting did not tell him he could be a risk to others.

“None of us were wearing masks. I was repeatedly told I was not contagious. Not that I was partly contagious, but that I was not contagious,” he said.

Officials contradicted that claim. Katkowsky told lawmakers that Speaker's medical record and a follow-up letter issued the next day both indicate Speaker was told that he could be a danger to others.

Gerberding told lawmakers that the CDC became aware of Speaker’s drug-resistant diagnosis on May 18, and that tests confirming XDR TB were completed four days later.

Speaker suggested the agency knew about his drug-resistant status long before. Two doctors in the May 10 meeting were CDC employees, though neither was there in an official CDC capacity, Katkowsky confirmed. One was a CDC doctor working at the Fulton County clinic as a treating physician. The other was Speaker’s father-in-law, Robert Cooksey, a CDC microbiologist who specializes in tuberculosis.

Sen. Harkin said he would consider recalling Gerberding to testify again on when the agency was first aware of Speaker’s drug-resistant status.

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