A health official in central Illinois has taken the unusual step of seeking a court order against a patient with tuberculosis, citing concerns the man, who has been warned against going out in public, has allegedly failed to seclude himself throughout the course of his treatment.
If successful, reports the News Gazette, the patient, Christian Mbemba Ibanda, could be ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. The bracelet would alert authorities if he attempts to leave his home in Champaign, Ill.
Tuberculosis is spread through the air, and while most forms are curable, it can be fatal if left untreated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include chest pains and coughing fits which may result in coughing up blood or sputum.
During the hearing on Friday, all visitors to the courthouse will be required to wear masks, reports note.
"We had been telling this gentleman, 'Listen. We're not messing around,'" Champaign-Urbana Public Health District administrator Julie Pryde told the Associated Press. "This is a serious illness. You cannot be exposing other people."
Pryde said she hopes a court order will keep Ibanda in quarantine until multiple sputum samples test negative. Per the Guardian, the home quarantine could last up to six weeks.
In 2012, authorities in California were forced to jail Armando Rodriguez, a TB patient, after he reportedly refused to take medication to keep the illness from becoming contagious. Rodriguez told a nurse he'd been drinking alcohol and using methamphetamine and was afraid the anti-tuberculosis drugs would hurt his liver, reports noted at the time.