The Centers for Disease Control is looking for 17 passengers seated near a man on Northwest Flight 51 from Frankfurt to Detroit on March 10. The man has been diagnosed with tuberculosis.
The risk of contagion is low but the CDC would like to test those passengers for tuberculosis.
There’s no indication yet whether this patient, a foreign national now being treated in a hospital, has drug-resistant tuberculosis. It’s encouraging, though, that he was detained by customs and border officials who recognized symptoms of the disease.
Border agents came in for criticism in 2007 when an Atlanta lawyer with a form of drug-resistant tuberculosis crossed the border into the United States from Canada in 2007. He caused an international health scare when he flew from Europe into Canada, exposing other passengers to the disease, although the type of tuberculosis he had turned out not to be quite as dangerous as originally thought.
It appears that nobody else caught the disease in that case.