How Did Infected Man Leave Atlanta?
May 31, 2007
Health experts are evaluating what more could have been done to stop an Atlanta-area man with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) from going abroad. Meanwhile, CDC said Wednesday it is determining which passengers on two transatlantic flights were closest to him in order to identify who may be at risk.
Dr. Martin Cetron, director of CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, said the agency does not believe the man was highly contagious while traveling. The consequences would be dire, however, if XDR-TB were to spread because treatments for the infection are so limited, he said.
Cetron said CDC is trying to locate around 80 passengers and 27 crew members who were on the two transatlantic flights and may have been near the XDR-TB-infected man.
The man flew from Atlanta to Paris on Air France flight 385 on May 12 and from Prague to Montreal on Czech Air flight 0104 on May 24. On the Air France flight, he sat in row 30, said CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner. On the Czech Air flight he sat in seat 12C. Persons who sat within two rows of the man are considered potentially at highest risk and are being urged to telephone 1-800-CDC-INFO so they can receive a TB test.
As of Wednesday, CDC said it had not received a passenger manifest from Air France to help pinpoint the man's seat number. "This is a cumbersome and challenging process to locate passengers," Cetron noted.
CDC released details of the flights the man and his wife took within Europe, but it said that because these were brief, the risk was minimal. The wife has been tested and her initial result was negative, said Cetron.
05.31.2007; Alison Young; Kevin Duffy