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IP/07/739

Brussels, 31 May 2007

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis: EU Member States agree on coordinated measures concerning infected air passenger

At a meeting chaired by the European Commission and held at the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) in Stockholm on 30 May, authorities responsible for taking measures in the EU Member States agreed to follow the ECDC's advice, requested by the Commission on 29 May, on the case of a US passenger with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) travelling on flights between Europe and North America. As a precautionary measure and following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the ECDC's advice is to perform contact tracing for passengers 2 rows ahead, 2 rows behind and the row of the infected passenger, and the cabin crew concerned. The ECDC's advice is that the risk for these persons is very limited, other passengers are not considered at risk. The passengers will be contacted by the corresponding national health authorities, as the Member States are responsible for tracing their own nationals. The distribution of the relevant information from the airlines for this process will be coordinated by ECDC.

Background

The European Commission had on 29 May requested the ECDC to provide a risk assessment to the Commission and public health authorities across Europe, following an alert posted by Italy on the EU Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) on the case of a US passenger with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) travelling on flights between Europe and North America.

The two concerned flights are:

  • Air France # 385 departing Atlanta on May 12 and arriving in Paris on May 13, 2007
  • Czech Air # 410 departing Prague, Czech Republic to Montreal, Canada on May 24,

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