Tuberculosis :: TB traveler exposed fellow fliers to deadly tuberculosis

An American man placed under the first government-ordered quarantine because of a dangerous form of drug-resistant tuberculosis infection (XDR-TB).

An international operation began last night to track down dozens of transatlantic passengers who this month flew with this man.

Public health authorities were urgently seeking people who were on board a flight from Prague to Montreal last week. Travellers on Czech Airlines Flight 0104 that landed in Montreal last Thursday are being urged to get tested.

The risks of infection are remote, but the passenger’s extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (also known as XDR-TB) is so potent that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was compelled to order the man’s isolation, the first time such an order has been issued in 44 years.

The man, a U.S. citizen living in the Atlanta area, boarded Air France Flight A385 to Paris on May 12. He returned to North America on May 24 on the Prague-Montreal flight, then drove from Montreal to the United States. He was then contacted by the CDC and checked into a hospital in New York. The man was already being tested for tuberculosis at the time he made his transatlantic flights, but he wasn’t aware he had the XDR-TB strain.

World Health Organization guidelines stipulate that passengers in the two rows around the man should be tested. Passengers who did not sit close to the man are not at risk but can be tested anyway to rule out any spread of this dangerous form of drug-resistant tuberculosis infection (XDR-TB).

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