ANNALS OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE Dec. 11, 014
By Kristi Koenig, MD, Center for Disaster Medical Sciences, University of California at Irvine
Despite our global experience with emerging infectious diseases, politicians empowered with making health policy decisions and even some scientists have created confusion, fear, and stigmatization of health care workers by inconsistent use of quarantine....
Instead of trying to allay public fears by misapplication of quarantine, we should instead educate according to rigorous science and apply evidence-based policies and procedures. Modern technologies exist for robust public health monitoring that can replace an antiquated system of quarantine for exposed persons who have no potential to transmit disease before symptom onset. Health care workers who have cared for Ebola patients and are asymptomatic should not be restricted from work or other activities as long as they can be effectively monitored for symptoms and then isolated and tested if those develop. Politicians must heed their scientific advisors and not be swayed by misinformed public fear. In addition, we should seek out and apply these simple modern technologic solutions that maximize public health and safety.
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