FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Daniel Greenberg, Senior Communications Specialist
202-777-3913 or via email
American Public Health Association supports CDC guidelines for health workers treating Ebola patients, opposes mandatory quarantine measures
Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director
Washington, D.C., October 28, 2014 — "The American Public Health Association fully supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines for health professionals in the U.S. and West Africa to help end the Ebola outbreak. By measuring a person’s risk of being exposed to Ebola, public health workers can quickly determine the right level of care to provide and reduce the possibility of the virus spreading.
"Our goal is to minimize risk. By putting in place proper protections, such as appropriately monitoring individuals, we can safely manage this disease and reduce its harmful impacts worldwide. Because of this, APHA opposes measures announced recently by several states requiring the quarantining of asymptomatic health workers who have returned to the U.S. after caring for patients with Ebola in affected countries.
"We ask states to follow CDC’s national risk-based standards to ensure that the disease has no further impact anywhere in this country. While we understand there is concern among the public about this disease, we need to follow the science, which is being reinforced every day. Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of individuals experiencing symptoms. Until an individual has symptoms, he or she is not contagious.
"We strongly urge elected leaders to defer quarantine powers for public health officials. It is a public health measure that ought to be used with extreme care and only under the most urgent circumstances. Misuse or overuse of quarantine authority will erode public trust and thwart future efforts to control infectious disease when you need it most."
The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the profession of public health, share the latest research and information, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research. We are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.