In a first for UK law, a man suffering from a particularly virulent strain of pulmonary tuberculosis is to be found and arrested under the Public Health and Control of Disease Act.
Gary Layden, from Fleetwood in Lancashire, is being hunted by the police who have the power to take him into quarantine at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a 28-day-treatment period, since his illness is highly contagious.
A friend of Mr Layden recently died from the disease, and doctors believe there are a further 12 people who suffer from it.
Wyre Council made the application for Mr Layden’s quarantine, saying: “This man has been made aware of the need to co-operate as this disease can be communicated to others.”
Dr Sunil Ashraf, a health protection consultant, said: “This man is coughing up germs containing the TB virus. He is an ongoing risk to those he lives with and communicates with.
“He is contagious and people in a house with him are particularly at risk of inhaling the TB organisms which can affect parts of their body like the brain and lungs.
“He should be kept in quarantine in a hospital isolation unit where he can be encouraged to take his medication.”
Mr Layden is believed to be “deeply shocked by the death of a colleague from TB” and likely to “disappear and not make contact then when he is feeling ill he will come to hospital only to discharge himself”.
Judge Brailsford, who granted the order for Mr Layden’s quarantine, said: “I am satisfied that this man is a risk to the public and his human rights are not an issue at this time.
“This is the first time I have come across such an application and grant it because of the harm he poses to others.”
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