Denver hospital says it will treat man with dangerous TB strain
DENVER – A Georgia man suffering from a dangerous form of tuberculosis will be treated at Denver’s National Jewish Medical and Research Center, but it wasn’t immediately known when he would arrive, officials said Wednesday.The man is under a U.S. government-ordered quarantine in an Atlanta hospital because the bacteria is so dangerous, but he is probably not highly infectious, officials said.The Denver hospital, which specializes in respiratory disorders, expects him to arrive within the next week and it could take several months to treat him.The process for how to get the man to Colorado keeps changing, said Dr. Charles Daley, head of the infectious disease division at National Jewish. Once he arrives, he said the man will be treated with a variety of drugs not normally used on tuberculosis, including some used for such diseases as pneumonia and leprosy.Daley said surgeons at the University of Colorado Hospital – which has worked with National Jewish for the last 20 years – could also operate to remove infected tissue from his lungs and then continue treating him with drugs.National Jewish has treated two other patients with what appears to be the same strain of tuberculosis since 2000, although that strain had not been identified and named at the time, Daley said. He said the patients had improved enough to be released but he didn’t have details of their current conditions.Daley said the man would be kept in one of the hospital’s five isolation rooms, which have special vents with filters and ultraviolet lights shining through them that kills bacteria as air is sucked outside. A typical room has two single beds, two television sets and a view of another building. There are multiple signs reminding people to wash their hands to stop the spread of disease.He said there are no plans to have an armed guard outside the door. He said police would be called if the man left without permission, but he did not expect that to happen.”This person is a patient, and they want to get better,” he said.University of Colorado surgeon Marvin Pomerantz, who has performed about 500 operations on patients with microbacterial infections, including tuberculosis, said surgeries to remove tuberculosis were more common before the advent of new drugs in the 1960s. Pomerantz said the practice has become more common in the last 20 years with the rise of tuberculosis that is resistant to many of those drugs.”The disease was basically thought to have been eliminated but then multidrug-resistant (strains) came along,” said Pomerantz, the director of CU’s Center of the Surgical Treatment of Lung Infections.Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, can withstand the main antibiotics isoniazid and rifampin. The Georgia man was infected with “extensively drug-resistant” tuberculosis, also called XDR-TB, which resists many other drugs.Pomerantz said he no longer performs surgeries and said any operation on the Georgia man – which could last up to 6 or 7 hours – would be handled by another surgeon at the center, Dr. John Mitchell.Pomerantz said a patient’s lungs may be infected with billions of bacteria and surgeons have to be careful not to release them into the operating room, infecting doctors and nurses.Health officials around the world were trying to find about 80 passengers who sat near the man on two trans-Atlantic flights. The man told a newspaper he took the first flight from Atlanta to Europe on May 12 for his wedding, then the second flight home on May 24 because he feared he might die without treatment in the U.S.National Jewish said it had no plans to treat any of the other passengers or crew members on those flights.Daley said National Jewish officials had been in discussions with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for weeks about treating the man, but he did not say when they first learned of the case or whether those conversations took place before the first flight.Daley said both the CDC and the patient wanted him to be treated at National Jewish.Colorado has a long history of treating people with tuberculosis. The state’s sunny weather, clean air and hot springs began attracting patients after the Civil War.National Jewish was built with donations from across the country to treat tuberculosis and admitted its first patient with the disease in 1899.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User