Doctors Give TB Fugitive Good News

Runaway lawyer's disease less dangerous than initially thought
By Greg Atwan,  Newser User
Posted Jul 3, 2007 5:21 PM CDT
This file handout photo released by the Public Affairs Office of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, shows tuberculosis patient Andrew Speaker in his isolation room at the National Jewish...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – TB patient Andrew Speaker is not quite as sick as planeloads of people feared, Reuters reports. A doctor from Speaker's Denver hospital says the Atlanta lawyer, who flew to Europe despite warnings that he was highly contagious, doesn't have XDR—or extensively drug-resistant—tuberculosis, but rather the more treatable multi-drug-resistant strain.

Docs warn that MDR is fatal and requires months to treat, and they say Speaker's federal quarantine—the first in 44 years—was warranted. But Speaker, who maintains that doctors told him he was not a threat, released a statement saying he hopes news of his "misdiagnosis" will allay his fellow passengers' fears. Authorities are still searching for those passengers.