[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
US TB man released from hospital
Andrew Speaker
Mr Speaker flew home on an air ambulance to avoid 'public alarm'
A US man who sparked an international health scare when he flew from Europe despite having a severe form of tuberculosis has left hospital.

Doctors said lawyer Andrew Speaker was no longer contagious but would need to take antibiotics for two more years.

Officials say he was advised against travelling at the time but he insists US doctors said he was not contagious.

Mr Speaker has been in isolation since his return. He was found to have a less serious form of TB than first thought.

Mr Speaker was initially diagnosed with extensively-drug-resistant, or X-DR, tuberculosis. Further tests found he had the multi-drug-resistant strain, which is still severe but easier to treat.

'Not cured'

Doctors at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, said Mr Speaker was healthy enough to return home to Georgia on a commercial flight, but he decided to fly on an air ambulance to avoid raising "undue public alarm".

We expect him to return to a full and active life
Dr Gwen Huitt
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
After eight weeks in hospital, Mr Speaker was not completely cured, the hospital said.

He had surgery to remove part of a lung with a tennis-ball-sized lump of infection.

"Although we believe there are still a few tuberculosis bacteria in his lungs, ongoing antibiotic therapy should kill those," said Dr Gwen Huitt, director of the hospital's adult infectious disease care unit.

"We expect him to return to a full and active life."

Mr Speaker travelled from his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, to Paris on 12 May to get married and spend his honeymoon in Europe.

The international scare was triggered when he flew with his wife via Prague to Montreal on 24 May, despite being contacted in Rome by US health officials, who told him to go into isolation or pay for an air ambulance home.

Mr Speaker continued his journey to the US by car, despite an alert being issued to border guards detain him.

TB is rare in the US. Last year there were 13,767 recorded cases or 4.6 cases per 100,000 Americans.


SEE ALSO
US TB man faces passenger lawsuit
13 Jul 07 |  Americas
TB man 'sorry' over plane trips
01 Jun 07 |  Americas
TB patient faces months in care
31 May 07 |  Americas
US in TB flight infection warning
29 May 07 |  Americas

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific