Updated: TB patient released, still faces contempt charge

Updated: TB patient released, still faces contempt charge

CHAMPAIGN — An isolation order has been lifted for a Champaign tuberculosis patient, and a Champaign County judge says he can be released from jail.

However, the patient, Christian Mbemba Ibanda, still faces a hearing Monday afternoon on a contempt case related to his alleged failure to follow a court order to stay home and cooperate with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on his treatment when he was still considered contagious.

At a status hearing Thursday afternoon, Champaign County Associate Judge Chase Leonhard granted a petition filed Wednesday by Assistant State’s Attorney David DeThorne asking the court to discharge Ibanda from isolation.

Ibanda is no longer infectious under terms of the state’s Control of Tuberculosis Code, the petition states. He has received the minimum two weeks’ standard treatment, demonstrated clinical improvement and had three consecutive negative sputum test results April 23, 24 and 25.

Leonhard also agreed to a motion by Ibanda’s attorney to allow him to be released from jail on his own recognizance. He had been held in lieu of a $10,000 bond, and had needed to post $1,000 cash to be released.

A hearing that had been scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at the Piatt County Jail has been relocated to the Champaign County Courthouse for the same day and time, and it will be a status hearing rather than a trial.

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde said Ibanda will continue to require TB medication for seven more months, delivered to his home by a public health nurse watching him take the medication, and he will continue to require monitoring and medical follow-up.

“But he doesn’t have to stay in isolation as far as we’re concerned,” she said.

Local authorities said they needed to resort to home monitoring via electronic ankle bracelet after voluntary compliance didn’t work with Ibanda, 24, of 100 Kenwood Road, C. Leonhard entered an order of isolation April 11 in Ibanda’s absence when he didn’t show up for his hearing.

Ibanda was arrested about a week later after the state’s attorney’s office filed a petition alleging indirect criminal contempt of court. It stated Ibanda wasn’t following court orders to remain isolated at home and cooperate with his treatment.

Ibanda has been held at the Piatt County Jail because it has a negative pressure room that doesn’t share the air with other people at the jail, a medical accommodation the older Champaign County jail lacks.

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department took over delivering Ibanda’s TB treatments at the Piatt County Jail, and both Hunt and health department Administrator David Remmert said Ibanda has been cooperative during his time there.

“He’s been very cooperative in taking his medicines, and he’s been very nice,” Hunt said.

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rsp wrote on May 01, 2014 at 9:05 pm

I find it really odd that someone who was supposed to be so contagious was tested after only a few days in jail and tested as being not contagious. Meanwhile his name and medical information was released to the press worldwide so he can be called a terrorist. Was he ever contagious?

Alexander wrote on May 02, 2014 at 8:05 am

I knew someone's son at 12 months old who somehow was screened positive for TB around here. They took one look at the family (Asian, although American born and raised) and told them he needed to take 6 months of crazy TB meds. They protested and later he was found totally negative. Let's just say that "context" comes into play when interpreting the results.