…if a banned passenger can still get on a plane? That’s the question the feds need to answer in the case of the Atlanta man infected with a super TB strain:
An Atlanta-area man — infected with a rare, potentially deadly type of tuberculosis — is under federal quarantine at Grady Memorial Hospital with an armed sheriff’s deputy outside his door following his odyssey on international flights, including some to smuggle himself back into the country.
The globe-trotting tale of the man, his fiancee, their wedding and honeymoon abroad — and conflicting recollections of what he was told about his disease and whether he could travel — culminated Tuesday with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing an international health alert.
The CDC is working with airlines to contact passengers who took two transatlantic flights — a May 12 Air France flight from Atlanta to Paris and a May 24 Czech Air flight from Prague to Montreal — to alert them that they may have been exposed to extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis…
…The man says he and his bride were in Rome on their honeymoon when they got a message to call the CDC. The CDC official said that they needed to cancel their trip and return home and that the CDC would call the next day with travel information. The patient says he and his wife canceled plans to move on to Florence the next day as they awaited the CDC’s instructions.
The next day, instead of giving the couple travel arrangements, the man said a CDC staff member told him he’d need to turn himself into Italian health authorities the next morning and agree to go into isolation and treatment in that country for an indefinite period of time.
“I thought to myself: ‘You’re nuts.’ I wasn’t going to do that. They told me I had been put on the no-fly list and my passport was flagged,” the man said.
The man said the CDC told him he could not fly aboard a commercial airliner with his disease. “We asked about the CDC jet and they said no, there wasn’t funding in the budget to use the jet,” he said.
Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s division of global migration and quarantine, did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. Cetron told The Associated Press: “He was told in no uncertain terms not to take a flight back.”
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said the agency was considering sending the CDC’s jet to Italy to retrieve the man — when he disappeared and didn’t meet Italian health authorities.
“We’re sitting in a hotel room in Italy and we’re looking at each other and we’re on our honeymoon and the authorities are coming in hours,” the man recalled. They made the decision to run.
To evade the no-fly list, which they assumed only involved jets bound for the United States, the man and wife flew into Canada and drove a car into the U.S. At every check of their passports, he said they feared being caught, but weren’t.
Homeland security? What homeland security?
Reader P. writes: “The real question is: what good is a no-fly list, when all that’s needed to avoid it is to fly into Canada and DRIVE ACROSS THE BORDER INTO THE UNITED STATES?”blog comments powered by Disqus
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