Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Remember TB Andy? Yeah, He's Not As Sick As We Thought.

I actually had several people call my show, and say that this would end up happening. Kudos to you all!

It turns out that TB Andy is not nearly as sick as we were led to believe.


The U.S. tuberculosis patient who was legally isolated after fleeing across international borders does not have the most dangerous form of TB but instead a strain that is easier to treat, his doctors said on Tuesday.

They said that Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old lawyer, has multi-drug-resistant TB, not the extensively drug-resistant disease.

"Laboratory tests conducted at National Jewish Medical and Research Center indicate that patient Andrew Speaker's tuberculosis is susceptible to some of the medications previously thought ineffective against his disease," the hospital in Denver said in a statement.

"As a result, doctors have altered Mr. Speaker's antibiotic regimen and have put on hold a decision about lung surgery."

If you can't rely on the CDC for accurate disease information and diagnosis ... who can you trust?


2 comments to "Remember TB Andy? Yeah, He's Not As Sick As We Thought."

Anonymous said...
10:56 PM

That's still like saying, "Oh, he wasn't trying to kill people with a machine gun, it's just a .45"

He is still and ass, and he is still an irresponsible dick that put a whole lot of people at risk so he could have a pretty wedding.

Anonymous said...
8:45 AM

Rather than being a little extra cautious, would the public want the CDC to be more on the relaxed side? Initial testing could have showed Speaker had the less dangerous form of TB and maybe this story would not have been the frenzy that it was. Imagine, though, the outrage that would have ensued if later testing showed he had the XDR form of TB?

TB is a very fastidious organism that is hard to culture in laboratories. It takes weeks before a culture can verify if a suspected TB patient actually has the infection. It then takes even longer to culture out the organism in order to determine which drugs can treat it.

It was smart for the CDC to call his strain the XDR form even if testing was not 100% conclusive. These drug resistant strains of TB are a very dangerous public health threat that require equally serious containment measures.

In the case of Speaker, one can see that he was purposefully trying to elude the health officials. It is absurd for him to now say that he was tricked into quarantine in that New York hospital. Being the intelligent lawyer that he surely is, he knew the meaning of the conversation that he had with Dr. David Kim of the CDC concerning the two options presented to him after learning of the XDR TB diagnosis.

"Private air ambulance" or "go into isolation in Italy" are two phrases which led Speaker to the same conclusion even if the word "quarantine" was never mentioned. Why do you think he flew to Canada to enter the US on the roads rather than fly directly back into the States? He contradicts his statement that no one mentioned isolation prior to the New York Hospital when he related to the press the conversation with Kim.

Public Health Officials and the rest of the medical community take drug resistant forms of TB very seriously. There even is a thing call "Directly Observed Therapy" for TB patients where a health official goes to the patients home or work to visually verify that they take there medications EVERY day. Our tax dollars pay for this. It is even a punishable offense to avoid taking medications to treat this disease because of the serious public health threat.

The officials involved in this case responded correctly when dealing with Speaker. Maybe they actually were vague when requesting that he report to the hospital "for additional testing." They had already tried to be honest with the needed treatment for his infection. The "luring" was the appropriate response to his blatant disregard to the potential grave risk his condition posed to not only himself but to every person that shared the air he breathed.



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