CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District would have about a month to keep a man with tuberculosis in home isolation, if the court agrees to order it in the interest of public safety.
The unusual case involves Christian Mbemba Ibanda of 100 Kenwood Road, Champaign, a TB patient who public health authorities fear could be infecting others because he allegedly hasn't always stayed home, as agreed, during the course of treating his contagious disease.
In a hearing set for Friday at the health district at 201 W. Kenyon Road, C, a Champaign County judge could order Ibanda to be isolated, but only for 30 days. The health district could request an extension if 30 days isn't enough or an early termination of the isolation if Ibanda's condition is sufficiently improved, says Champaign County Assistant State's Attorney David DeThorne.
"It's not an indefinite thing," he said.
DeThorne, who filed the petition for an isolation order on behalf of the public health district, said the district followed a process spelled out under state law in attempting to keep Ibanda confined to his home and in compliance with required treatment measures.
The law gives the Illinois Department of Public Health authority in matters of quarantine and isolation, and the authority has been delegated to local health departments to respond immediately to the threat of a dangerously contagious or infectious disease.
A contagious bacterial disease that typically attacks the lungs, TB spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes and speaks or sings, and people nearby breathe in the bacteria.
In the petition to be considered Friday, DeThorne detailed the health district's attempts to enforce home isolation and directly observed therapy — in which a nurse brings medication to the patient's home and watches him take it — with Ibanda. The petition alleges the health district finally served an isolation order on Ibanda on April 1 after he wasn't sticking to the terms of his voluntary isolation agreement, but Ibanda refused to consent to the order.
The health district's next step was to file the petition within 48 hours for a court order authorizing the isolation and other conditions.
To obtain the order, the health district will need to prove the public's health and welfare are significantly endangered by Ibanda, that all other reasonable means of correcting the problem have been exhausted and there aren't any less restrictive choices remaining.