ATLANTA – A man with a rare and dangerous form of tuberculosis ignored doctors’ advice and took two trans-Atlantic flights, leading to the first U.S. government-ordered quarantine since 1963, health officials said Tuesday.
The man, whom officials did not identify, is at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital.
He was potentially infectious at the time of the flights, so officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended medical exams for cabin crew members on those flights, as well as passengers sitting within two rows.
Passengers who should be tested will be contacted by health officials from their home countries.
The infected man flew from Atlanta to Paris on May 12 aboard Air France Flight 385. He returned to North America on May 24 aboard Czech Air Flight 0104 from Prague to Montreal. The man then drove into the United States at the Champlain, N.Y., border crossing.
The man told health officials he was not coughing during the flights. Tests indicated the amount of TB bacteria in him was low, so passengers are not considered to be at high risk of infection, said the CDC’s Dr. Martin Cetron.
The man had been told by health officials in early May that he had a form of TB that was resistant to first-line antibiotics and was advised not to travel to Europe.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the man – who declined to be identified – said he had traveled to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon and expressed frustration with how he said the CDC handled the situation. His wife tested negative for TB before the trip and is not considered a public health risk, health officials said.