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Andrew Speaker's TB Reclassified

Andrew Speaker's Tuberculosis Is Multidrug-Resistant, Not Extensively Drug-Resistant, Doctors Say
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 3, 2007 -- Andrew Speaker's tuberculosis is multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB), not extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB), CDC officials and Speaker's doctors announced today.

Speaker, an Atlanta lawyer, was recently in the headlines when the CDC ordered him into medical isolation after he and his bride took two transatlantic flights.

At the time, Speaker was believed to have XDR TB, which resists most tuberculosis drugs. But today, that diagnosis changed to MDR TB.

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis doesn't respond to the first preferred treatments. But it's more responsive to tuberculosis drugs than extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis.

In light of the new diagnosis, Speaker may not need lung surgery for his tuberculosis, Charles Daley, MD, told reporters today.

Daley works in Denver at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, where Speaker is being treated.

Andrew Speaker's Statement

In a news conference, William Allstetter, spokesman for the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, read a written statement by Andrew Speaker.

Speaker says in the statement that he is "incredibly relieved" that tests show that he doesn't have XDR TB. He noted that his understanding is that he does not have -- and has never had -- XDR TB.

Speaker also indicated he hopes today's news doesn't change the attention tuberculosis has recently gotten in the media, given that tuberculosis is a serious global health problem

Speaker referred to his earlier XDR TB diagnosis as a "misdiagnosis."

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