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His paper is being published in the March edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The United States is farther along than many other countries in eliminating TB, and U.S. health officials are aggressive about testing other passengers and taking steps to stop the potential spread of any new cases. "It's very effective," said Dr. Richard Chaisson, a John Hopkins University TB expert.
Chaisson sits on the editorial advisory board of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, but did not agree with the study's findings and called them unconvincing. "I don't think there's a problem" with World Health Organization or U.S. guidelines.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also disagreed with some facets of Abubakar's argument. He said one important indicator of whether a TB patient is infectious is a positive result from a lab analysis of sputum. But CDC officials said patients with negative results can still be infectious.
"It's always better to be safe than sorry," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
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