Diagnosis changed for TB patient

Times Staff Writer

For the second time this year, a patient initially diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of drug-resistant tuberculosis turned out to have a less dangerous form, hospital officials said Thursday.

Robert Daniels, 27, had been kept under armed guard in Arizona because health officials thought he had extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR TB, and failed to wear a mask in public, said his attorney, Linda Cosme.

Cosme said the results showed that health officials “were jumping the gun.”


New tests run on Daniels’ sputum at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, one of the leading XDR TB facilities in the country, show that he has multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, which has a survival rate twice as high as the more resistant strain.

Daniels’ infection can be controlled with a wider range of drugs than can XDR TB, said hospital spokesman William Allstetter.

Daniels was tested in preparation for possible lung surgery at National Jewish to help his recovery, his lawyer said.

The hospital also recently changed the diagnosis of Andrew Speaker, an Atlanta man who sparked an international manhunt after he left the country to get married and honeymoon in Europe.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had diagnosed him with XDR TB.

Allstetter said the differences in diagnoses in both cases could be due to the more sensitive tests used at National Jewish.


Tuberculosis is an infection of the lungs characterized by fever, weight loss, night sweats and the coughing up of blood. XDR TB is the most resistant form.

Since 1993, there have been 49 cases of XDR TB in the U.S.