Putting the Law Into Practice: A Comparison of Isolation and Quarantine As Tools to Control Tuberculosis and Ebola

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Abstract

The recent Ebola epidemic has put the words “isolation and quarantine” in the spotlight. Isolation and quarantine are tools that are often utilized by public health officials around the United States to address various types of infectious disease, including tuberculosis. While voluntary compliance is preferred, it can be difficult to achieve. In cases where an individual chooses not to voluntarily comply with an isolation or quarantine request, public health officials require assistance from the judiciary and law enforcement to effectuate the order. This article compares 2 recent court cases with different outcomes where public health officials sought assistance from the courts to enforce an isolation or quarantine order.

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