TB patient travel may have been illegal

July 18, 2007

Local officials may have violated Georgia law when they allowed tuberculosis patient Andrew Speaker to travel.

The Atlanta lawyer should have been confined to his home almost two weeks before he flew to Greece for his wedding, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Health regulations also would have required him to leave home only for medical appointments, if he wore a mask.

Instead, Speaker was allowed to take international flights while infected with a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis, sparking an international health scare.

No government official ever told him he had to stay home, he said.

Despite the newspaper's finding, the Georgia state tuberculosis director expressed confidence in the ability of county officials to protect residents from the lung disease.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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