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A Question Of The XDR
TB Travel Fiasco
Mr. Speaker's Odyssey

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hello Jeff -- As I read the latest information on the background of the now-identified XDR TV traveler - Attorney Andrew Speaker - and his new father-in-law - Dr. Robert C. Cooksey, amazingly a CDC microbiologist SPECIALIZING in TB epidemiology(!) - many, many questions arise.
I am wondering if others are having similar questions.
First of all, Dr. Cooksey made a statement that his XDR TB son-in-law, Andrew, did NOT become infected from him (Dr. Cooksey) or from his labs at the CDC. Now WHY would Dr. Cooksey jump forward so quickly to immediately deny ANY involvement with Andrew Speaker's infection?  I found that to be an odd statement to make.
We also learned that Andrew Speaker was to be detained at the US/Canadian border...and the border agent told to don protective gear. Yet, that same agent allowed Speaker back into the US.
* How did Andrew Speaker become infected with this very rare form of XDR TB?
* Why did the border agent disregard orders and simply allow Mr. Speaker and his wife, Sarah to proceed back into the US?
* Why did Mr. Speaker bother to fly home via Canada, if he had intended to turn himself in as he stated. If he had landed at JFK or in Atlanta, the CDC would have met him and taken him directly to the hospital. Why go to, yet, another country?
* Mr. Speaker is purported to be a successful lawyer. Didn't he realize that he can be held liable and sued if any of the people he put at risk test positive for TB?
* How much did Dr. Cooksey know about Mr. Speaker's plans and when did he know them? As father of the bride, I would think Dr. Cooksey played a large part in the wedding preparations for his daughter. He knew that Speaker was TB-infected, MDR TB at that. His expertise with TB should have compelled him to convince his daughter and Mr. Speaker to postpone the wedding.
* Was Dr. Cooksey part of the wedding? Was he in the US during the time that Speaker went abroad?
* Was Mr. Speaker given special privileges by the CDC because he is related to Dr. Cooksey at the CDC?
* Was Mr. Speaker's oddesy planned by Dr. Cooksey as some sort of epidemiological test? Was he allowed to travel as a means of helping the CDC to get more quarantine laws into effect or to enable the US government to access foreign air carrier lists? Was this part of some pandemic simulation?
As we speak, H7N2 in Wales in infecting people via human-to-human transmisison. H7N2 normally does not readily infect humans. There had been an outbreak of H5N1 in the UK in the Fall, 30 miles from this current outbreak. If H7N2 with its new trend to easily spread from human-to-human shares genetic material with H5N1, we may just have a pandemic of bird flu to worry about.
I found the following statements to be quite odd.
Speaker's father-in-law has worked at the CDC for 32 YEARS and is in the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, where he works with TB and other organisms. He has co-authored papers on diabetes, TB and other infectious diseases.
"As part of my job, I am regularly tested for TB. I do not have TB, nor have I ever had TB," he said in a statement. "My son-in-law's TB did not originate from myself or the CDC's labs, which operate under the highest levels of biosecurity."
In a brief telephone interview with the AP, Cooksey said that he gave Speaker "fatherly advice" when he learned the young man had contracted the disease.
"I'm hoping and praying that he's getting the proper treatment, that my daughter is holding up mentally and physically," Cooksey said. "Had I known that my daughter was in any risk, I would not allow her to travel."
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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