Nobody wants to spend thousands on an elaborate European honeymoon and suddenly find out that they are too sick to go. Andrew Speaker must have felt the same when he learned he had tuberculosis (TB) not long before his honeymoon trip touring several European countries. What Speaker did not know at the time, so he claimed, was that he had a rare form of tuberculosis, resistant to most known forms of treatment, so he decided to go ahead with his honeymoon.
Speaker left the country on an eight hour plus flight from New York to Paris around May 12, and took several air trips within Europe, traveling throughout many places in the European Union. Then, sometime after being notified by the Center for Disease Control of his specific condition, he returned in a rather roundabout way from Prague to Montreal and in a rental car passed the land border between Canada and America.
As more information arrived, more questions would arise.
How did Mr. Speaker manage to get out of the country with such a condition? Before his trip, Andrew Speaker reportedly was not aware that he had such a rare and dangerous form of TB. Although officials claim they explicitly told him not to leave the country, he was reported as saying they advised him against it, but he did not say the specifically told him not to go.
What was done to hold him and keep him from infecting more people on more airplanes or in other places? According to authorities, his name was put on a no-fly list, and would have probably been, at the absolute least, required to wear a mask on a return flight to America. Border patrols were also supposedly alerted to hold him, with an alert in place for whenever his passport is swiped.
How did he get back into the country after the no-fly alert was put in place and a hold alert placed on his passport? Mr. Speaker, who just happened to be a lawyer himself, apparently knew he would not be allowed to fly back into the country normally, and in that condition he flew into Canada and drove legally into the country. Until early next year, not all American citizens entering the country in such a method have to show a passport. Surprisingly, however, he did show his passport, and was still let into the country.
Why was he let back into America without being detained and forced to go to a hospital? The reasons for this isn’t certain yet, but the specific border agent who let him pass was reported as saying “he didn’t look sick to me.” However no one has yet told whether or not the border agent was given any alert about Mr. Speaker on the computer system, or what that may have indicated.
Who is at risk for getting this dangerous strain of TB? Most officials are claiming the people at most risk are those sitting within several feet of him on the airplane on the two flights from New York to Paris and Prague to Montreal. Those on other flights with the man, or who came only in brief contact with him, have a much lower risk of contracting the disease.
What if I was on one of those planes? To get tested for TB, go to your local hospital with proof you were on one of the involved flights. They should have the contacts with the CDC to ensure that you are tested properly.