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Quarantined tuberculosis patient hopes his fellow plane passengers forgive him

An Atlanta attorney quarantined with dangerous form of tuberculosis said he was told he was not contagious or a threat to anyone and apologized to his fellow plane passengers in an interview aired Friday.

"I feel awful," Andrew Speaker said, speaking through a mask with ABC television's "Good Morning America" at his hospital room in Denver. "I've lived in this state of constant fear and anxiety and exhaustion for a week now, and to think that someone else is now feeling that, I wouldn't want anyone to feel that way.

"I don't expect those people to ever forgive me. I just hope they understand that I truly never meant them any harm."

Speaker, 31, said he, his doctors and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all knew he had TB before he flew to Europe for his wedding and honeymoon last month. But he said he was told that he was not contagious or a danger to anyone. Officials said they would rather he did not fly but did not forbid it, he said.

His father, also a lawyer, taped that meeting, he said.

"My father said, 'OK, now are you saying, prefer not to go on the trip because he's a risk to anybody, or are you simply saying that to cover yourself?' And they said, we have to tell you that to cover ourself, but he's not a risk."

Speaker, his new wife and her 8-year-old daughter were already in Europe for the wedding when the CDC contacted him and told him to turn himself in immediately at a clinic there and not take another commercial flight.

Speaker said he felt as if the CDC had suddenly "abandoned him." He said he believed if he did not get back to a specialized clinic in Denver, he would die.

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