U.S. tracks down passengers on TB flight

June 2, 2007 at 4:29 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Health officials say they have located all 26 Americans who sat near a man who made transatlantic flights while infected with drug-resistant tuberculosis.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that federal authorities say Atlanta lawyer Andrew Speaker was in good general health and there was only a small level of the TB bacteria in his lungs, making it unlikely he infected anyone else on the round-trip flights to Europe.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Julie Gerberding, told the Post the exposed population from the flight most likely could not infect anyone else.

"Some of the passengers are afraid they're a hazard to other people now," she said. "We want to assure them that is absolutely not the case."

There were a total of 425 passengers on a Atlanta-to-Paris flight that Speaker and his fiancee took May 12. The couple was flying to the Greek island of Santorini to get married.

Studies have shown passengers at greatest risk in such situations would be sitting in the two rows in front of and behind the infected person.

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