It is not news that the Atlanta lawyer who had/didn’t have Extremely Drug Resistant TB early in the year didn’t infect anyone when he flew — against advice or was it against orders? — from Europe back to the US via Canada and through New York despite a no fly (or not?) order from CDC (or DHS?). Everything about this case was cocked up — the diagnosis, the communication with the patient, the communication with the public, the communication between federal agencies, state agencies and local health agencies (see our posts here). The fact that no one who sat close to him or further from him or nowhere near him was infected is one of the few things everyone agrees on:
Preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show about 250 passengers aboard the same Air France flight on May 12 have been tested for the disease.
None, including 25 passengers sitting nearest to Speaker, appears to have been infected during the flight.
Canadian health officials, who were responsible for investigating Speaker’s return flight from the Czech Republic to Montreal on May 24, also found no evidence Speaker spread the disease.
The Public Health Agency of Canada focused on the 29 passengers seated closest to the Atlanta lawyer on the Czech Air flight. “We are six months out now from the time of exposure, and there still continues to be no evidence of transmission,” said Dr. Tom Wong, director of the community-acquired infections division of the Public Health Agency of Canada. (AP via Canadian Broadcasting)
Everyone is relieved and most public health people are not surprised. He was told — for good reason — he was not contagious. He wasn’t coughing, didn’t have symptoms, was not shedding bacteria that anyone knew. This young lawyer came in for extreme and often vile public criticism when it was the incompetent authorities who at least equally at fault.
He at least had the excuse of panic. Come to think of it, maybe CDC has that excuse, too.