Third Test for TB Patient is Negative

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Denver (AP) Officials at the hospital where a high-profile tuberculosis patient is being treated say a third sputum smear test has come back negative.

That means 31-year-old Andrew Speaker is now considered “relatively non-contageous'' -- but not exactly in the clear.

Spokesman William Allstetter of National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver says bacteria could still grow in the lungs and the sputum, and pose a risk of contagion.

Speaker could be allowed brief, escorted trips outside his room with a mask now that the third test had come back negative, but the hospital says no decision has been made about when, or if, that may happen.

Drug-resistant TB patients who do venture outside are kept far from other patients and anyone else in the community, so they pose no risk of infecting others.

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