Congress Reviews Flaws in TB scare

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Washington (AP) U.S. border officials have told Congress that a lone officer undid their efforts to stop a man with a dangerous form of tuberculosis from entering the country.

But that explanation was met with skepticism from lawmakers who said the case exposed plenty of holes in the nation's security.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said “we dodged a bullet'' as he opened a hearing into the case of 31-year-old Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta man whose wedding and honeymoon travel caused an international health scare.

Speaker could be allowed outside his Denver hospital late next week, as long as he has an escort and wears a mask. On Tuesday doctors implanted a catheter in the chest of Speaker to make it easier to pump antibiotics into his lungs. His doctor says he has to complete two weeks of drug treatment first but it's possible he may decide not to go outside to protect his privacy, given all the publicity surrounding the case.

This announcement follows word that a third test of Speaker's sputum turned up negative for the presence of TB bacteria when viewed under a microscope. An earlier culture test of speaker's sputum yielded TB bacteria when allowed to grow in a laboratory. That means there were some small amounts of bacteria in his saliva and phlegm.

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