MANHASSET, NY – The idea of a mandatory quarantine for people who come back to the United States from an Ebola-endemic region may not be helpful in preventing the spread of the virus.
People who do not have Ebola virus symptoms cannot really spread the disease to other people. Bruce Hirsch, MD, attending infectious disease physician at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, says that the virus incubates and becomes more infectious when a person develops symptoms. Ebola transmission occurs through contact with bodily fluids, which typically occur when someone is very sick with the virus.
“To use the quarantine strategy for asymptomatic individuals who have been in an area that has Ebola I think is a bad idea,” says Bruce Hirsch, MD, attending infectious disease physician at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. “My rationale for being against it is that it’s not based on real risk. And if we give in to a fear that’s not substantiated, if we act on that fear, then we have to get all the consequences of that action, all the unintended consequences.”