Denver The Atlanta lawyer quarantined with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis has a relatively low chance of spreading the disease, possibly allowing him to leave his isolation room for a short time as soon as next week, one of his doctors said Tuesday.
A third test of Andrew Speaker's sputum - a mixture of saliva and phlegm - turned up negative for the presence of TB bacteria, confirming the results of earlier tests at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.
Normally, TB patients with three negative sputum tests who have undergone at least two weeks of treatment are allowed to leave their isolation rooms briefly as long as they wear a mask. Additional precautions are advised for patients, like Speaker, with drug resistant strains of the disease.
If his drug regimen is established and if he wears a face mask, Speaker could be allowed outside on hospital grounds with an escort as early as next week, said Dr. Charles Daley at a news conference.