TB Patient at Border Traveled Through 13 Countries

Strain he has is especially dangerous and resistant to most drugs

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 2, 2013 7:33 AM CST
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(Newser) – The Wall Street Journal has a scary story that illustrates just how easy it is for even one person to spread a lethal, drug-resistant disease. US border authorities in South Texas have detained a man trying to sneak across from Mexico who has a rare strain of TB. That's bad enough. Worse is that he is originally from Nepal, and his journey to the US took him through 13 countries over three months, presumably hacking all the while.

He is now in medical isolation, and authorities are trying to figure out whether he infected any of the thousands of people he encountered along the way, many of them migrants like himself constantly on the move. His strain of tuberculosis is known as XDR, and it is resistant to more than half of the approximately 15 standard TB drugs. It has been seen in the US only once before, also from a Nepalese patient.

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