Health department concerned about TB patient

By Anna Carrera

Published 04/09 2014 06:10PM

Updated 04/11 2014 06:14PM

Latest: 5:45 pm, 4/11/14, Friday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- It was an unusual day for one Champaign County Court case. The proceedings happened outside the courthouse at the Public Health Department. Everyone attending had to be fitted for medical masks. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out why.

The Champaign man with tuberculosis was supposed to be there. After Christian Ibanda was diagnosed with TB, he was supposed to stay home and take special medicine. But, since he didn't, he's going to be watched a lot closer now.

For the second time in five years, Champaign County Court was in session at C-U Public Health. But this time, the defendant didn't show up.

"To me, it's just kind of a lack of respect for the Public Health Authority and now, a lack of respect for the judicial authority," said C-U Public Health administrator Julie Pryde. 

The department's administrator says she wasn't surprised. After all, she says Christian Ibanda also didn't listen when she said to stay home after he was diagnosed with TB.

"Every single person who has an infectious case of pulmonary TB, we put them in isolation immediately," said Pryde. "They stay in isolation. They do that on their own without us having to go search for them everywhere."

Everyone who planned to be in the courtroom still had to be fitted with a special respirator mask, just in case he came, but they didn't have to wear them.

"By default, the court finds in favor of the petitioner and against Mr. Ibanda," said judge Chase Leonhard. 

Even though he wasn't there, court went on as usual, or at least, as much as it could, for being in such an unusual spot.

"The court finds that Mr. Ibanda has refused to remain in isolation under the direction of the department and that refusal to remain in isolation significantly endangers the public's health and welfare," said Leonhard.

"If he goes out of the apartment, we're going to know about it immediately," said Pryde. "Then the police will be called and there will be further consequences down the road."

Now, Ibanda has to wear a GPS ankle bracelet until he's done with his treatment and is no longer contagious. Health experts say, even though this is a unique situation, it's not overly dangerous. TB can be deadly, but it's not as easy to catch as the flu or measles.
Update: 4:26 pm, 4/11/14, Friday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- A Champaign man has to wear a GPS ankle bracelet after refusing to stay home. CU Public Health leaders say he has tuberculosis which could be deadly.

Since he didn't follow health department guidelines, he was supposed to appear in court Friday. He still didn't do what he was asked; he didn't show up for court.

The public health department's administrator says one of their nurses tried to get a hold of him and he said he didn't have a ride. So after waiting for Christian Ibanda, court went on without him.

The judge decided there was enough evidence to put him under court-ordered isolation. Now public health officials will be able to track him and find out if he leaves his home.

Administrator Julie Pryde says she's not surprised he was a no-show. Even though he didn't show up, everyone who planned to be in the courtroom had to be ready. It meant being fitted with special respirator masks. No witnesses had to testify, but Assistant State's Attorney David Dethorne says they were prepared and willing to do it if they had to.

Even though TB is deadly, Pryde says people don't need to be too worried about this. In order to catch it from someone else, you need to have a lot of close contact, so you wouldn't just get it in passing.
Original: 6:10 pm, 4/9/14, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN -- There are usually between six and ten active cases of tuberculosis reported around the Champaign-Urbana area each year. But after a diagnosis last month, CU Public Health is getting the courts involved. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out why.

Administrator Julie Pryde says one patient wasn't following the department's rules. That could put the public at risk for TB and the disease can be deadly. She says this has happened once before since she's been there.

When people get diagnosed, the department provides medicine and nurses to check in on them. But when patients don't follow the guidelines, the department takes action to keep everyone safe. Pryde says the department does what it can to keep people healthy.

"People are isolated in the hospital for various different things, but usually when they're out in the community, public health is involved and we're trying to get them to pretty much stay away from other people so there's not a risk of exposing others," said Pryde.

She says Christian Ibanda, who was diagnosed with TB, isn't following recommendations. So the department is asking a court for an order of isolation. But it won't happen in a regular courtroom.

"The court would prefer not having a bunch of people up in the courthouse and walking around with masks on because they think that would cause disruption, which it probably would," said Pryde. "So we're going to have it, like we did last time, the full court will be held in the public health main conference room."

People with TB are usually contagious for 5 or 6 weeks if they're taking the medicine they should. Pryde says they keep patient's information confidential. But as soon as the courts get involved, some of that becomes public record.

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