He’s definitely a selfish asshole. Here he is.
Apparently the authorities knew he had TB, but didn’t know how serious it was till he was in Europe. Still, it does sound like a combination of one selfish asshole coupled with possible governmental incompetence.
[quote]Speaker and his wife flew to Denver from Atlanta accompanied by federal marshals. He looked healthy and tan, and “he said he still felt fine,” Allstetter said.
Speaker, who gave an interview to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, said that health authorities in Atlanta never explicitly barred him from leaving the country and that they only said they “preferred” he stay home in the Atlanta area. The man then reportedly left for Europe to get married.
On Wednesday, officials from the Fulton County Health and Wellness Department and the CDC said that they clearly and emphatically told him to stay put.
“He was told in no uncertain terms that he had a serious, contagious disease,” said Dr. Steven Katkowsky, director of the Fulton County Health Department. “We told him not to travel.”
. . . Dr. Martin Cetron, director of CDC’s division of global migration and quarantine, acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday that the agency was making slow progress in reaching passengers and crew aboard the man’s transatlantic flights.
The CDC released more detailed information about the man’s itinerary to help people aboard those flights identify themselves.
CDC officials said they believed the man was sitting around row 51 [Around? WTF?] on Air France Flight 385 from Atlanta to Paris and in seat 12C on Czech Air Flight 0104 from Prague to Montreal. They believe about 80 people on the two flights were sitting in the high-risk areas, which include the row the man was sitting in and two rows around him. . .
The CDC is isolating Speaker under a federal public health order – the first issued since the isolation of a smallpox patient in 1963.
Tuberculosis is an infection of the lungs characterized by fever, weight loss, night sweats and coughing up of blood. The disease is spread primarily through prolonged close contact, in microscopic droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.
The tuberculosis bacterium has developed resistance to antibiotics over the years. XDR TB is the most resistant form. It is six times more lethal than regular TB.
XDR TB is extremely rare. Since 1993, there have been just 49 cases in the United States.
Speaker was diagnosed with tuberculosis in January after a small lesion on his lungs was found after a chest X-ray was taken for other medical reasons, the CDC said. . .
County health officials knew by May that his tuberculosis was of a drug-resistant variety, although they didn’t know whether it was of the most serious type.
They met with Speaker to tell him the severity of his disease and that he should not travel out of the area, Katkowsky said.
But before the health department could deliver an official medical directive, Speaker left for Paris.
Speaker and his wife traveled from Paris to Athens, then to two Greek islands. “We headed off to Greece thinking everything’s fine,” the man told the Atlanta paper.
Only when the couple reached Rome did the CDC discover that he was infected with XDR TB.
A member of the CDC quarantine team reached him by cellphone May 23, officials said.
“There were several communications between my staff and the individual in Rome, begging and asking him to stay put and not travel while we worked on some options,” Cetron said.
Speaker had told the Atlanta paper that the CDC then counseled him to turn himself over to Italian health authorities for an indefinite period of time.
"I thought to myself, ‘You’re nuts,’ " he told the paper.
He traveled to Prague and then flew to Montreal to avoid being detected by U.S. authorities, according to the Atlanta paper.
CDC officials finally reached Speaker on his cellphone near Albany, N.Y., on Friday after he had driven across the border into the U.S. He voluntarily drove himself to an isolation hospital in New York City and was then taken in a CDC plane back to Atlanta on Monday. . .[/quote]