US modifies Ebola guidelines after quarantine uproar

October 28, 2014 | By | Reply More

Oct 28, – US health authorities have issued new guidelines for health workers returning from Ebola-hit nations after a firestorm of criticism over state quarantine restrictions, including from the UN chief.

hromedia US modifies Ebola guidelines after quarantine uproar health and fitness2The enforced quarantine in New Jersey of a US nurse who had come home after treating patients in Sierra Leone sparked controversy — and accusations from the woman that her rights had been violated.

The nurse was discharged on Monday, one day after New York eased strict new quarantine rules under pressure from President Barack Obama’s administration.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday urged active monitoring of those at risk following stints in the countries hardest hit by the epidemic — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“Active direct monitoring” means high-risk people must be checked for fever daily for 21 days, and must restrict their travel and public activities for the duration of the virus’s incubation period, the CDC said, in an update of previous guidelines.

Those at high risk include those who experienced needle sticks, handled bodily fluids of Ebola patients without protective gear or who handled the corpse of a victim, among others.

“That, we think, is good sound public health policy,” CDC chief Tom Frieden told reporters.

“We are concerned about some policies that we have seen in various places that might have the effect of increasing stigma or creating false impressions. You don’t catch Ebola from someone who is not sick.”

– ‘Supported, not stigmatized’ –

The new guidelines — which the CDC does not have the power to enforce on a national level — stop short of a strict quarantine.

That is the standard New Jersey and New York states had adopted, following the first confirmed case of the disease in New York — a doctor who had treated patients in Guinea.

Those measures drew criticism from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and in Washington.

“Returning health workers are exceptional people who are giving of themselves for humanity,” Ban said.

“They should not be subjected to restrictions that are not based on science. Those who develop infections should be supported, not stigmatized.”

“We depend on them to fight this battle,” Ban said in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, which is home to the African Union headquarters.

West Africa is the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak that has so far claimed the lives of nearly 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Several countries have imposed tough migration restrictions on visitors coming from affected nations.

The European Union’s new Ebola czar, Christos Stylianides, said tens of thousands of health care workers are needed to combat the deadly virus, including both volunteers in affected countries and foreign experts.

The White House also weighed in Monday, saying health workers like the New Jersey nurse, Kaci Hickox, should be praised.

Press journalist for HRO media – Dr. Carlos reports.

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Category: Health and Fitness, International

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