Tags: Ebola Outbreak | ebola | quarantine | too | short

21-Day Ebola Quarantine May Be Too Short: Study

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 03:39 PM

The 21-day quarantine recommended for Ebola patients to minimize the risk of spreading the virus may be too short, new research suggests.

The Drexel University study concludes that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent the spread of the virus, estimating 12 percent chance that someone could be infected even after the three week quarantine, Science Daily reports.

The findings, published in the published in Public Library of Science journal PLOS Currents: Outbreaks, come as public health officials are re-examining many of the recommended procedures for treating and containing Ebola. One of the tenets for minimizing the risk of spreading the disease has been a 21-day quarantine period for individuals who might have been exposed to the virus.

The new study by Charles Haas, a professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, suggests the scientific basis for the quarantine is based on “murky” evidence from previous Ebola outbreaks in Africa in 1976 (Zaire) and 2000 (Uganda), as well as the first 9 months of the current outbreak.

Data gathered by the World Health Organization reported a 2-21 day incubation period for the virus —meaning that after 21 days if the individual hasn't presented symptoms they are likely not to be infected or contagious. That is the basis for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 21-day quarantine period.

"Twenty-one days has been regarded as the appropriate quarantine period for holding individuals potentially exposed to Ebola Virus to reduce risk of contagion, but there does not appear to be a systemic discussion of the basis for this period," said Haas.

Haas suggests that a broader look at risk factors, costs, and benefits should be considered when setting this standard. Based on data from other Ebola outbreaks, in Congo in 1995 and recent reports from the outbreak in West Africa, Haas estimates there could be up to a 12 percent chance that someone could be infected even after the 21-day quarantine.

"While the 21-day quarantine value, currently used, may have arisen from reasonable interpretation of early outbreak data, this work suggests reconsideration is in order and that 21 days might not be sufficiently protective of public health," Haas said.
 

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The quarantine recommended for Ebola patients to minimize the risk of spreading the virus may be too short, new research suggests.
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2014-39-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 03:39 PM
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