Passengers With TB Patient Speak Out

CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella covered the tuberculosis scare story from Atlanta last night. She is now in Denver, where patient Andrew Speaker is being treated.



When I met Laney Wiggins and Jason Vik, they were wrapping up their fourth or fifth interview of the day at a television studio in Atlanta. As recent international travelers, the two 20-somethings find themselves wrapped up in a trans-Atlantic health scare.

Laney Wiggins is a senior at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. She and Vik, a university alumnus, went on a school-sponsored trip to Europe earlier this month. It just so happened they were on the same plane as the now-infamous globe-trotting TB patient, Andrew Speaker.

They've both been tested. Laney showed me the red splotch on her arm where the test had been done. "I think I'm OK," she told me.

An eraser-sized bump would mean she was positive for TB. Her arm was red, but flat. She goes back to the health department Friday afternoon for her results.

Jason Vik had a completely different experience. He showed up at a military hospital in South Carolina and created a second scare — sort of. It seemed the hospital didn't know what to do with him. "They sent out a doctor with a mask on, and gave me a mask."

He had a full set of chest X-rays, tests galore, and was finally told to go home. It makes you wonder: Isn't there a uniform policy that all hospitals, whether private, public or military, should follow in a case like this? It also makes you wonder: What did these poor college-aged kids do to deserve this? Even if their tests turn up negative, which they probably will, Vik and Wiggins will have to go back for testing every eight weeks indefinitely because health officials don't know how long of an incubation period XDRTB has.

Vik put it quite well when he said "(Speaker) affected us for the next five years of our lives. We have to keep going back (for testing) because we were on a plane with some selfish guy who didn't want to give up his wedding."

Speaker says he didn't think he was putting anyone at risk, and he probably didn't infect anyone with a deadly disease, but he sure did change a lot of lives.

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