NY, NJ to Quarantine Returning Clinicians With Ebola Contacts

October 24, 2014

In the wake of New York City's first Ebola case, New York and New Jersey will quarantine all healthcare workers arriving at two key airports from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia for 21 days if they have treated patients with the deadly virus in those countries.

The quarantine will extend to all travelers from the three countries who have had direct contact with an infected individual.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the decision to impose quarantines this afternoon. Calls for this stringent measure have grown louder since Craig Spencer, MD, tested positive for the Ebola virus yesterday after he returned to New York City on October 17 from an assignment with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea.

Dr Spencer was monitoring himself for Ebola symptoms while traveling around New York City, in accordance with the guidelines of Doctors Without Borders. He reported a low-grade fever yesterday morning and was immediately hospitalized. Doctors Without Borders does not recommend a 21-day quarantine for international healthcare workers returning home from a stint of Ebola care in West Africa.

Under the screening protocols announced by the two governors, the state health departments of New York and New Jersey will have the authority to hospitalize or quarantine travelers coming through John F. Kennedy International Airport or Newark Liberty International Airport, respectively.

"Since taking office, I have erred on the side of caution when it comes to the safety and protection of New Yorkers, and the current situation regarding Ebola will be no different," Cuomo said in a news release. Christie added, "By demanding these enhanced measures, we are ensuring that any suspected cases are identified quickly and effectively, and that proper safeguards are executed."


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