TB Patient Answers To Congress

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The globe-trotting tuberculosis patient now in quarantine insisted to Congress on Wednesday that doctors told him he wasn't contagious and didn't order him to stay in the United States for treatment - even as health officials painted a picture of a man on the run.

"I didn't go running off or hide from people. It's a complete fallacy, it's a lie," Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old Atlanta lawyer, said by telephone from the Denver hospital room where he remains in government-ordered isolation.

But in testimony to a Senate subcommittee, federal and local health officials said Speaker took an international flight two days earlier than planned after he had been told he had a drug-resistant form of TB and should not travel.

Fulton County health officials told Speaker, "No you should not travel," Dr. Steven R. Katkowsky, the health department's director, said. "Was he ordered not to travel? The answer to that was no. The local health department does not have the authority to prohibit or order somebody not to travel."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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