Letter Re: Quarantine Procedures for Ebola and Other Diseases at Your Bugout Location


The article about quarantine procedures is timely and thoughtful. It points out scenarios that have a human element that I bet many have not considered. As a clinician, I would like to add a few points to consider. Quarantine is only necessary for the maximum of the illness’s incubation period. For Ebola, this is 21 days. There is no need to quarantine longer than that. If it is your child, or your sister, it will be much easier to enforce compliance with the quarantine if it is fact-based and not fear-based. It removes all question of bias. The WHO (World Health Org) and CDC have good info on incubation topics.

Another thought to consider is government mandated quarantine. Most governments implement quarantines as a means to protect the population as a whole from the smaller population at risk. Just look at what is happening in Liberia. Massive mandatory quarantines have been implemented. Some of the effects of this, along with widespread fear, has led to an interruption to trade and trucks stocking the markets. There is actually a food crisis for those who are not already self-sufficient, because they cannot attain food and goods from markets. The UN warned of this today.

In the U.S., it is not hard for a similar picture to erupt. The CDC website says of the U.S.: “States have the authority to declare and enforce quarantine and isolation within their borders. This authority varies widely, depending on state laws. It derives from the authority of state governments granted by the U.S. Constitution to enact laws and promote regulations to safeguard the health and welfare of people within state borders.” Sometimes mandatory quarantines are an inconvenient necessity (think smallpox on a ship at port, for example), but the effects of such a quarantine go far beyond just protection from contagion.

PA Jes