Air passengers possibly exposed to rare TB
ATLANTA (AP) ” A man with a rare and exceptionally dangerous form of tuberculosis has been placed in quarantine by the U.S. government after possibly exposing passengers and crew on two trans-Atlantic flights earlier this month, health officials said Tuesday.
This marks the first time since 1963 that the government issued a quarantine order. The last such order was to quarantine a patient with smallpox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC urged people on the same flights to get checked for tuberculosis.
The infected man flew from Atlanta to Paris on May 12 aboard Air France Flight 385. He returned to North America on May 24 aboard Czech Air Flight 104 from Prague to Montreal. The man then drove into the United States.
He cooperated with authorities after learning he had an unusually dangerous form of TB. He voluntarily went to a hospital and is not facing prosecution, officials said.
The man is hospitalized in Atlanta in respiratory isolation, according to the World Health Organization.
He was potentially infectious at the time of the flights, so CDC officials recommended medical exams for cabin crew members on those flights, as well as passengers sitting in the same rows or within two rows.
The man was infected with “extensively drug-resistant” TB, also called XDR-TB. It resists many drugs used to treat the infection. Last year, there were two U.S. cases of that strain.
Because of antibiotics and other measures, the TB rate in the United States has been falling for years. Last year, it hit an all-time low of 13,767 cases, or about 4.6 cases per 100,000 Americans.
Tuberculosis kills nearly 2 million people each year worldwide.