Saturday, June 02, 2007


Everyone knows the name of Andrew Speaker. If you don't he's the person carrying the multidrug resistant tuberculosis(TB) stain all over the world.

First, Tuberculosis. It's a difficult disease to treat... months of antibiotics are required in most instances, and usually more than one type of antibiotic. Because people generally feel fine when they have this diagnosis they often quit taking the medication. This leads to more drug resistance.

I find a few things very funny about the case.

1. He's a personal injury lawyer. If someone else had done this I bet he'd be on TV advertising for people to call him to get their "rightful settlement"

2. His new father-in-law... works for the Centers for Disease Control. Speciality -- tuberculosis. You can't make this stuff up.

3. His name came up when he crossed the border from Canada. "including instructions to hold the traveler, don a protective mask in dealing with him, and telephone health authorities." The border inspector ignored these warnings because they appeared discretionary and the man appeared healthy. Good to know the system works. Good thing he's wasn't a terrorist. I imagine if he had been of middle eastern ethnicity he would have been face down handcuffed in a ditch in twelve seconds.

I'll give the guy some credit. He's probably not extremely infective from what I know about TB. He wasn't coughing, he probably didn't have an acute infection. He also picked it up somewhere long ago. And it was just recently found on an xray for something unrelated.

But also some problems.

1. He states he didn't know the risk of what he was doing, but when he was told not to come home he went to extreme pains to get home. He flew from Atlanta to Greece for his wedding, warned not to travel. Then flew to Rome, Italy. Warned again not travel. Then got to Prague, Hungary flew to Montreal, Canada then drove across the border to avoid authorities. Sounds like someone deliberately trying to skirt the system.

2. I'd hate to miss my wedding and honeymoon. But questions are now arising to whether a wedding took place. One article states "There was no wedding. They came for a marriage but they did not have the required papers." Good planning on his part. If I was the prospective bride I'd be pissed off.

1 comment:

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