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American Who Exposed Air Passengers to Drug Resistant TB Quarantined

ws the bacteria to overcome the patient's immune defenses more quickly. About two-thirds of those infected with XDR-TB die, the World Health Organization said in March. In February, the Geneva- based agency asked donor countries and organizations to give $650 million to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

``They'll probably need a lot more than that,'' said Tawanda Gumbo, a TB specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who has treated patients with resistant strains in the U.S. and Zimbabwe. ``This is a major problem and we've been losing drugs to treat it one by one.''

Gerberding said the CDC is recommending that people who sat near the man on the two transatlantic flights - beside or two rows in front and two rows behind - be tested for tuberculosis. "We are considering not only his own ability to transmit but also the seriousness of this organism and the chance that some passenger on the plane could be one that was at a special risk for serious tuberculosis on the basis of their own personal medical history," she said.

Dr. Michael Gardam, a tuberculosis expert in Toronto, said people who sat near the man on those two flights face months of testing and uncertainty. "That's the real . . . tough story here, is that most of these people are not going to have been infected by this fellow, but it might be hard to know that," said Gardam, head of infection control at University Health Network, a consortium of three large Toronto teaching hospitals.

"It's going to be very anxiety provoking for the next two years." ``The risk of transmission may be on the low side, but we know it isn't zero,'' Gerberding said. "Anybody who comes into contact with XDR-TB could become infected." The man, a Georgia resident, left Atlanta on May 12 on Air France flight 385, arriving in Paris on May 13.

Gerberding said he had been advised by public health authorities in Georg
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