Timeline of Speaker's TB Odyssey

Andrew Speaker was diagnosed with TB in January and traveled abroad in May.

ByABC News
February 10, 2009, 9:29 AM

June 1, 2007 — -- Atlanta lawyer Andrew Speaker, 31, made headlines this week when he traveled on an international commercial flight with a rare form of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

He sat down with "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer this morning to discuss his diagnosis early this year and the unwanted notoriety he received this week for flying to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon, despite advice from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that he should not travel.

The following is a timeline of events from various news sources tracing the diagnosis of Speaker's disease through his trip back to the United States early this week:

December 2007: Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old lawyer from Atlanta, gets engaged to girlfriend Sarah Cooksey, a law student.
[Source: ABC News]

January 2007: Speaker suffers a fall and goes to the doctor, worried he has bruised a rib. Doctors X-ray his chest and find an abnormality that requires further testing. These tests reveal that he has tuberculosis, though he shows no symptoms.
[Source: ABC News]

May 11, 2007: Speaker and Cooksey, his fiancée, are about to leave on a trip to Europe for their wedding and honeymoon when health officials meet with Speaker to urge him not to travel. Speaker did not think the warning was very serious. "They said, 'We would prefer you not to go on the trip,'" he says. "And that's when my father said, 'OK, are you saying because he's a risk to anybody or are you simply saying it to cover yourself?' And they said, 'We have to tell you that to cover ourselves, but he's not a risk.'"
[Sources: ABC News, Denver Post, CNN.com, 11Alive.com]

To reiterate the warning, Fulton County health officials try to deliver a letter to Speaker saying, in part, "It is strongly recommended that you postpone your travel and see a specialist in Denver, Colo." The letter never reaches Speaker, because he has already left for his wedding.
[Source: CNN.com]

May 12, 2007: Speaker and Cooksey fly from Atlanta to Paris to begin their trip.
[Source: ABC News]

[Sources: ABC News, CDC]

May 18, 2007: Speaker is contacted by the CDC and advised not to travel because updated test results show that he has XDR-TB, a much more dangerous and drug-resistant strain of the disease than anyone had initially thought.
[Source: ABC News]

May 21, 2007: Speaker flies to Rome where he is again warned by the CDC not to fly on a commercial aircraft due to the nature of his disease. Speaker and his family say they asked the CDC for help in getting him home, because it would have cost him $100,000 to fly back on a noncommercial airline. The family maintains that the CDC offered no help to arrange alternative transportation for Speaker to get back to the United States.
[Source: ABC News, CDC]

May 24, 2007: Panicked, and convinced that he will die if he does not reach the tuberculosis clinic in Denver, Speaker flies from Prague to Canada to avoid being on a no-fly list in the United States. He then drives from Canada to the United States, where he is stopped at the border in Champlain, N.Y. A computer alert warns the border inspector to stop him from entering the country, but the inspector, believing Speaker looks healthy, disregards the warning and lets him through.
[Sources: ABC News, CDC]

May 25, 2007: Speaker checks himself into a New York hospital where he is put in isolation.
[Sources: CNN.com, washingtonpost.com]

May 28, 2007: He is flown on a CDC plane to Atlanta, where he is placed under government-ordered isolation.
[Sources: Rocky Mountain News, CBS4 Denver]

May 31, 2007: Speaker is flown to the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, which specializes in TB treatment, where he remains in isolation. He is the first person infected with TB to be put in isolation by order of the U.S. government since 1963.
[Sources: ABC News, washingtonpost.com]