Did you hear that the man who was infected with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is an affluent marital and personal-injury attorney? It turns out that this selfish, idiotic dope who should know better, went on his honeymoon through Europe, knowing he had TB. While overseas, the infected man, Andrew Speaker (pictured right; image source), exposed hundreds of people to his very dangerous strain of TB before finally returning to the United States — against federal health officials’ warnings — by driving across the Canadian border because he was on this nation’s “no fly” list. Upon reaching NY, he was placed in forced isolation and moved to Denver’s National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Even more amazing, Speaker’s new father-in-law is a microbiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who specializes in studying the epidemiology of TB.
Why did this guy fly all over Europe and then return on a long trans-Atlantic flight from overseas, knowing the nature of his disease and that he would expose everyone on each plane to it? According to Speaker, he feared he wouldn’t survive if he didn’t reach the US — yet he still managed to travel all over Europe during his honeymoon. Further, despite his so-called fear, he was healthy and tan when he arrived, and “he said he still felt fine,” according to hospital spokesman William Allstetter.
Unfortunately, because he was being a typical self-absorbed American, health officials in North America and Europe are now trying to find about 80 passengers who sat near him on his two trans-Atlantic flights, and they want passenger lists from four shorter flights he took while in Europe.
Thin section transmission electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
TB is a common and deadly infectious disease among the poor and throughout many Third-World countries. It is caused by several species of mycobacteria, primarily Mycobacterium tuberculosis (pictured above). TB most commonly infects the lungs but can also affect a variety of other organ systems, such as the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the genitourinary system, bones, joints and even skin. If left untreated, TB kills more than 50% of its victims. Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is defined as being resistant to the two most effective anti-TB drugs: rifampicin and isoniazid. In addition to those two antibiotics, extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) is also resistant to three or more of the six classes of second-line anti-TB drugs. There have been 17 XDR-TB cases in the USA since 2000, according to CDC statistics.
“With drug-resistant tuberculosis, it’s quite a challenge to treat this,” said Dr. Charles Daley, head of infectious disease at National Jewish Hospital. “The cure rate that’s been reported in other places is very low. It’s about 30 percent for XDR-TB.”
“I’m a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person,” Speaker whined. “This is insane to me that I have an armed guard outside my door when I’ve cooperated with everything other than the whole solitary-confinement-in-Italy thing.”
So why didn’t Speaker just stay in the hospital in Rome and receive treatment there until he was no longer infectious, as he was advised by the CDC? I guess this guy is just another one of those truly stupid and irresponsible people who doesn’t care about anyone but himself.