Passenger On The "Do Not Board" List Boards Aircraft

 

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Passenger On The "Do Not Board" List Boards Aircraft

By Daniel Guevarra
 
Passenger On The "Do Not Board" List Boards Aircraft  

January 12, 2010 - Investigators are trying to figure out how a man who has Tuberculosis, a contagious disease that was placed on a "Do Not Board" list by the CDC was allowed to board a US Airways Flight 401 out of Philadelphia International Airport bound for San Francisco on Saturday.  

Tuberculosis or TB (short for Tubercle Bacillus) is a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air, when people who have the disease cough, sneeze, or spit.

Most infections in humans result in an asymptomatic, latent infection, and about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of its victims. 

 

The Centers for Disease Control has reported that the passenger was added to a "Do Not Board" list due to his medical condition. The reporting of such medical information is a requirement of CDC in an effort to make it safe for passengers boarding aircraft. CDC further reported the agency consistently updates this list and it is provided to TSA and the airlines.  

While in flight, US Airways flight attendants soon realized the passenger man wasn't fit to travel on an aircraft. Upon reaching San Francisco the passenger was quarantined. US Airways has notifying all passengers who were on Flight 401 and is working with TSA and CDC to figure out how the passenger was able to board their aircraft. 

A third of the world's population is thought to be infected with M. tuberculosis, and new infections occur at a rate of about one per second. The proportion of people who become sick with tuberculosis each year is stable or falling worldwide but, because of population growth, the absolute number of new cases is still increasing. In 2007 there were an estimated 13.7 million chronic active cases, 9.3 million new cases, and 1.8 million deaths, mostly in developing countries.  

In addition, more people in the developed world are contracting tuberculosis because their immune systems are compromised by immunosuppressive drugs, substance abuse, or AIDS. The distribution of tuberculosis is not uniform across the globe; about 80% of the population in many Asian and African countries test positive in tuberculin tests, while only 5-10% of the US population test positive. 

 

Signs and symptoms: When the disease becomes active, 75% of the cases are pulmonary TB, that is, TB in the lungs. Symptoms include chest pain, coughing up blood, and a productive, prolonged cough for more than three weeks. Systemic symptoms include fever, chills, night sweats, appetite loss, weight loss, pallor, and often a tendency to fatigue very easily. 

In the other 25% of active cases, the infection moves from the lungs, causing other kinds of TB, collectively denoted extrapulmonary tuberculosis. This occurs more commonly in immunosuppressed persons and young children. Extrapulmonary infection sites include the pleura in tuberculosis pleurisy, the central nervous system in meningitis, the lymphatic system in scrofula of the neck, the genitourinary system in urogenital tuberculosis, and bones and joints in Pott's disease of the spine. An especially serious form is disseminated TB, more commonly known as miliary tuberculosis. Extrapulmonary TB may co-exist with pulmonary TB as well. 

Transmission: When people suffering from active pulmonary TB cough, sneeze, speak, or spit, they expel infectious aerosol droplets 0.5 to 5 µm in diameter. A single sneeze can release up to 40,000 droplets. Each one of these droplets may transmit the disease, since the infectious dose of tuberculosis is very low and inhaling less than ten bacteria may cause an infection. 

People with prolonged, frequent, or intense contact are at particularly high risk of becoming infected, with an estimated 22% infection rate. A person with active but untreated tuberculosis can infect 10–15 other people per year. Others at risk include people in areas where TB is common, people who inject drugs using unsanitary needles, residents and employees of high-risk congregate settings, medically under-served and low-income populations, high-risk racial or ethnic minority populations, children exposed to adults in high-risk categories, patients immunocompromised by conditions such as HIV/AIDS, people who take immunosuppressant drugs, and health care workers serving these high-risk clients.  

Transmission can only occur from people with active — not latent — TB. The probability of transmission from one person to another depends upon the number of infectious droplets expelled by a carrier, the effectiveness of ventilation, the duration of exposure, and the virulence of the M. tuberculosis strain. The chain of transmission can, therefore, be broken by isolating patients with active disease and starting effective anti-tuberculous therapy. After two weeks of such treatment, people with non-resistant active TB generally cease to be contagious. If someone does become infected, then it will take at least 21 days, or three to four weeks, before the newly infected person can transmit the disease to others. TB can also be transmitted by eating meat infected with TB. Mycobacterium bovis causes TB in cattle.

 
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