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Wed, Jul 04, 2007

Doctors Give New Diagnosis For Andrew Speaker

Test Results Indicate Less Severe Form Of TB

The lawyer who caused an international health scare in May when he continued with his transatlantic travel plans for his wedding, despite a tuberculosis diagnosis, has now been found to be infected with a far less dangerous form of the disease than originally thought.

Andrew Speaker was diagnosed in Atlanta, GA with an extremely rare drug resistant form of TB, XDR-TB, in March of this year. He decided to carry on with plans to marry in Greece, saying he didn't realize what he had was so dangerous and doctors had not specifically warned him not to travel as ANN reported.

Speaker's itinerary included flights on: Air France flight 385 to Paris on May 12; Air France flight 1232 to Athens, Greece, on May 14; Olympic Air flight 560 to Thira Island, Greece, on May 16; Olympic Air flight 655 to Athens on May 21; Olympic Air flight 239 to Rome on May 21; Czech Airlines flight 727 to Prague, Czech Republic, on May 24; and Czech Airlines flight 0104 to Montreal, Canada on May 24.

He then crossed over into the US from Canada at the Champlain, NY border crossing, fearful he wouldn't get necessary treatments if he didn't get back in the states after the wedding, according to the Associated Press.

A federal health official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the AP three subsequent tests all show Speaker has a milder form, multidrug-resistent TB, which has many more treatment options available that XDR-TB.

According to the AP, there is a question as to how the lab techniques used at Jewish Medical and Research Center, where Speaker is being treated, differed from those used at the Centers for Disease Control. A CDC official reportedly said the agency tested a sputum sample and got the same result as the hospital.

Officials at Denver's National couldn't immediately be reached for comment by the AP, but hospital spokesman William Allstetter did say doctors would announce changes in Speaker's treatment at an upcoming news conference.

FMI: www.cdc.gov, www.njc.org

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