CHICAGO (Reuters) — An Illinois judge on
Friday ordered a disobedient patient with infectious tuberculosis to
wear an ankle bracelet and stay home alone or be taken into custody.
Christian Mbemba Ibanda, of Champaign, Illinois, failed to appear
at a hearing for which Judge Chase Leonhard and his entire courtroom
had been fitted with protective masks to guard against the highly
Authorities later found Ibanda, who is in his 20s, and he is now
wearing an ankle bracelet, said Champaign-Urbana Public Health
District Administrator Julie Pryde.
Pryde, who sought the order, said the man had refused to come to the
hearing and told her he was staying home.
However, when a team of health officials arrived at his apartment in
Champaign, about 140 miles south of Chicago, it was vacant. Pryde
slapped a sign on the door reading "Quarantine. Contagious Disease.
Ibanda was diagnosed in March with active pulmonary tuberculosis,
and was ordered to stay home on his own and await a nurse's daily
visit to administer medication, Pryde said.
"We go and he's not there," she said before the hearing.
On previous occasions, when health workers contacted Ibanda by
phone, he had said he was out shopping and "basically told us he has
things to do," Pryde said.
Another time, he was found to be home with a woman and a 5-year-old
girl, both sleeping in the house and neither wearing masks, she
Ibanda could not be reached for comment.
Pryde said it was not immediately clear whether Ibanda would face
consequences for failing to show up at Friday's proceeding.
Tuberculosis is a highly contagious, potentially deadly disease with
symptoms including night sweats and extreme exhaustion and is spread
through sneezing or coughing.
Unlike some forms of multidrug-resistant TB, active pulmonary
tuberculosis responds to drug therapy. If Ibanda was compliant, he
could be rendered noninfectious in five weeks and cured in six
months to a year, Pryde said.
It is not known how Ibanda contracted the disease.
In a similar case in 2009, another Champaign TB patient was in
court-ordered isolation for about six weeks and, after a year of
therapy, he was cured of TB, Pryde said.