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American Who Set Off TB Scare Doing Well in Hospital

The tuberculosis scare continues unabated across the Atlantic. But the man who set off the panic is doing well in a hospital in Denver that specializes in the disease. The man himself has been identified as Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old attorney from Atlanta. He is not coughing, has no fever and does not appear to be very likely to infect others, doctors said.

Still, staff at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center will wear surgical masks when treating him. The patient, Andrew Speaker, arrived there following an early-morning flight on an air ambulance. It is still not clear how he got the disease, but he has traveled extensively around the world over the last six years.

In a phone interview with the Atlanta Constitution-Journal from an Atlanta hospital earlier this week, he explained that he knew he had TB when he flew from Atlanta to Europe in mid-May for his wedding and honeymoon, but that he didn't find out until he was already there that it was an extensively drug-resistant strain considered especially dangerous.

Doctors initially did not order him not to fly and only suggested he put off his long-planned wedding. 'We headed off to Greece thinking everything's fine,' he told the newspaper. Despite warnings from federal health officials not to board another long flight, he flew home for treatment fearing he wouldn't survive if he didn't reach the U.S.

Health officials said they were looking for about 80 passengers and 27 crew members from two flights. Speaker flew from Atlanta to Paris on May 12, arriving on May 13, on Air France flight 385. He returned to North America on May 24, on Czech Air flight 104, from Prague to Montreal. He then drove back to the U.S.

Officials are trying to contact only those who sat within five rows of him on the two longest flights for testing. Other passengers are not considered at high risk of infection because tests indicated the amount of TB bact
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