Congressional hearings highlight mistakes in case of tuberculosis patient

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 14 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1242
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

    Two hearings last week at the US Congress investigated failures in the case of Andrew Speaker, the 31 year old lawyer from Atlanta who flew to France, Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Canada after being told that he had drug resistant tuberculosis and should not travel on commercial airlines (BMJ 2007;334:1187, 9 Jun, doi: 10.1136/bmj.39237.452269.DB).

    Health agencies could not prevent him flying, could not locate him on international flights, and were slow to place him on a “no fly” list. The agencies were tardy in notifying the World Health Organization, European countries, and Canada, the hearings found, and a border agent disregarded instructions to stop him.

    Congressional representatives called Mr Speaker “a walking biological weapon” and said that if the incident had involved someone with smallpox it could have been disastrous.

    Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control …

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