TB patient: 'I was not a threat'

June 6, 2007 at 5:02 PM

WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta lawyer who sparked an international health scare, told a U.S. Senate panel he was told his tuberculosis wasn't contagious.

Speaker, 31, who is being treated in Denver for a rare form of drug resistant TB, testified by telephone before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee that doctors never told him not to travel.

Speaker touched off an international incident when he flew to Greece for his wedding and then avoided the U.S. no-fly list by returning to Canada and driving across the U.S. border.

"I've cooperated with anything anyone has asked me to do," Speaker was quoted as saying in a CNN reported. "I looked to the people who I believe I should trust to tell me whether or not I'm a threat to those around me, and they told me I wasn't."

He added: "CDC knew that I had it. They were aware that I was going on my travels. Yes, I was told that Fulton County would prefer that I not travel but I was also told I was not contagious, I was not a threat to anyone, there was no need to sequester me."

Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said state law didn't allow the CDC to order Speaker not to travel.

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