Thursday, May 31, 2007

TB Airplane Guy's Father-in-Law Is a CDC TB Specialist

Earlier this month a man infected with a resistant form of TB boarded a plane for Paris against doctors' orders to get married:
The man with the suspected rare form of TB was aboard Air France flight 385 that departed from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on May 12, arriving in Paris May 13. He flew from Prague to Montreal on Czech Airlines flight 0104 on May 24 and entered the U.S. by car.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the CDC, said travelers who sat near the ill passenger could become exposed, although the risk of transmission is low.

"The CDC is recommending those patients be notified and such persons have a test for tuberculosis," Gerberding said. "The potential for transmission is on the low side but we know it isn't zero."
Link. We now know the man is thirty-one-year-old Atlanta personal-injury lawyer Andrew Speaker, whose old website picture appears above right, and that he apparently never saw the Dustin Hoffman thriller Outbreak. But we also know that his father-in-law—the father of the woman he flew to Paris to marry in the first place—is a CDC microbiologist specializing in the spread of TB:
The father-in-law, Bob Cooksey, would not comment on whether he reported his son-in-law to federal health authorities. He said only that he gave Andrew Speaker, 31, “fatherly advice” when he learned the young man had contracted the disease.

The CDC had no immediate comment.

“I’m hoping and praying that he’s getting the proper treatment, that my daughter is holding up mentally and physically,” Cooksey told The Associated Press. “Had I known that my daughter was in any risk, I would not allow her to travel.”
Link (via Fark). What is going on here?

The Washington Post has more details:
The research microbiologist, Robert C. Cooksey, said in a statement distributed by the CDC that he was concerned for his daughter and son-in-law, as well as the passengers on flights Speaker took after having been advised not to travel for his wedding and honeymoon.

Cooksey said Speaker's TB "did not originate from myself or the CDC's labs." He said he is regularly tested as part of his job in the CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination and that he has never had the disease. He also denied that he was involved in any of his son-in-law's decisions about travel.

"As a parent, frequent traveler, and biologist, I well appreciate the potential harm that can be caused by diseases like TB," Cooksey said. "I would never knowingly put my daughter, friends or anyone else at risk from such a disease."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed the big one. How in the world did this guy get a phone call from the CDC in Rome, if he was not suppose to fly? Ping. His father-in-law is directly involved... all bets point that way. How else would they reach him unless he has an international phone for usage. I surmise his dear father-in-law used his power to treat this patient DIFFERENTLY than any other poor kid from Africa.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous OhPlease said...

To Anonymous:

In the words of my 12 year old daughter: TOTALLY. F. in law's finger prints are ALL OVER THIS. there were less than fifty cases of this strain in the U.S. in the past fifteen years, and this guy gets it, and his F.I.L. happens to be on the CDC committee to stamp out TB? Come on. And Dad doesn't say anything until the dude is outed in the press. Because his little princess is NOT gonna have her BIG DAY messed up by some little lung-bug, and screw the little-guy-casualties.
These people have the Scott Peterson entitlement personality disorder written all over them. Can't wait to see 'em get skewered.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous matelot said...

selfish motherfocka

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of assanine father would let his soon to be son in law travel in an airplane with a known communicable disease to marry his daughter. I can't believe that this didn't conflict with his code of conduct as CDC officer, or the fact that this rare strain of TB could be contracted by his daughter. I seriously hope that Mr. Cocksey has been alleviated from his position because he has obviously has fallen short of his duty to protect innocent people. I'm no road scholar, but my common sense tells me that this man should not have been allowed to travel in a public airplane. Seriously, what was this going to do, go home and say hey honey I have a rare form of TB.....wanna get married?? If it was that important for him to see her, it should have been the bride that came to see him. What the hell happened to common sense and decency. You say that the chance of transmission of this "rare" strain was low. How the hell do you know. I'm quite certain that no one has any idea of the contagiousness of this obvious airborne disease. I am so angry that this selfish SOB took it upon himself to possibly infect an entire airplane for his own personal satisfaction. I hope for his own karma that no man, woman, or child has been harmed by his selfish means. I personally hope his "rare" TB is incurable and she doesn't marry your tainted ass. that's karma --- it's a bitch.

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