Statement by Robert C. Cooksey, research microbiologist, CDC's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination:
First and foremost, I am concerned about the health and well being of my son-in-law and family, as well as the passengers on the affected flights. I am the father-in-law of Andrew Speaker, who was recently publicly identified as a person infected with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis.
I do work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I have worked at the CDC for 32 years. I'm a research microbiologist in CDC's Division of Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination, and my work does involve working with a wide range of organisms, including TB. As a research microbiologist, my laboratory work involves identifying the characteristics and features of bacteria.
As part of my job, I am regularly tested for TB. I do not have TB, nor have I ever had TB. My son-in-law's TB did not originate from myself or the CDC's labs, which operate under the highest levels of biosecurity. I wasn't involved in any decisions my son-in-law made regarding his travel, nor did I ever act as a CDC official or in an official CDC capacity with respect to any of the events of the past weeks.
As a parent, frequent traveler, and biologist, I well appreciate the potential harm that can be caused by diseases like TB. I would never knowingly put my daughter, friends or anyone else at risk from such a disease. I would ask the media to respect my privacy and that of my family, and I will be respectfully declining all media requests.
y thoughts and focus over the next few months will be with my family, and we are hopeful that Andrew will have a fast and successful recovery.