Officials Debate Isolation For Healthcare Workers Who Treat Ebola Patients
A top federal health official says it's not necessary to quarantine all health care workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says active monitoring can accomplish the same thing, because people infected with Ebola don't become contagious until they start showing symptoms.
He says mandatory quarantines like those put in place by three states could have the unintended consequence of discouraging health workers from joining the fight against Ebola.
New Jersey, New York and Illinois are requiring that travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone who have had contact with Ebola patients be quarantined for 21 days, which is the incubation period for Ebola.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells ``Fox News Sunday'' the step was necessary to protect public health, because voluntary monitoring isn't reliable.
Fauci appeared on ``Fox News Sunday,'' ABC's ``This Week, NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' CBS' ``Face the Nation'' and CNN's ``State of the Union.''
Meantime, the nurse quarantined at a New Jersey hospital because she had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa says the process of keeping her isolated is ``inhumane.''
Kaci Hickox told CNN by telephone Sunday she felt her ``basic human rights have been violated.'' She also questioned why politicians are making decisions she said should be left up to health officials.
Hickox is the first traveler quarantined under new guidelines established in New Jersey and New York. She said she is ``completely asymptomatic'' and tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary evaluation.
Hickox says she has been told little about the quarantine process and noted that hospital workers in contact with her are allowed to leave and be with their families.
State health officials say Hickox has been made aware of quarantine details. They say she remains isolated in a climate-controlled extended care area.