News Local/State

Illinois Guidelines for Ebola Quarantine


Illinois officials are taking pains to differentiate the state's Ebola plans from those of New York and New Jersey, where mandatory quarantines for medical workers have come under fire from scientists.  

Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck said Monday the state's approach strikes the ``right balance'' by enforcing a home quarantine only for the highest-risk cases.  

The Illinois 21-day mandatory home quarantine won't be used for medical workers if they wore personal protective equipment correctly while treating Ebola patients in West Africa.  

Hasbrouck says Illinois wasn't directly influenced by a New York doctor who went bowling before testing positive for Ebola. But he says that New York case ``played into the urgency'' for a public announcement.  

Illinois has no confirmed Ebola cases and nobody is in quarantine.

Local health departments throughout the state received the guidance on Ebola on Friday, instructing them when to issue a mandatory 21-day home quarantine and when it's not needed.

State officials said the guidelines are based on the best medical science and that few individuals will fit the ``high risk'' criteria triggering a mandatory quarantine. For example, it wouldn't be used for medical workers if they wore personal protective equipment correctly while treating Ebola patients.  

The White House issued a statement over the weekend saying any measures concerning returning health workers ``should be crafted so as not to unnecessarily discourage those workers from serving'' in West Africa.  


 _If a person arrives and has no symptoms, but reports touching blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient without wearing personal protective equipment, that person may travel to his or her Illinois home for quarantine, with the mode of travel decided on a case-by-case basis. The person wouldn't be allowed to leave home for 21 days after the exposure, except for medical care. Public health officials would directly observe at least one daily temperature check.  

 _If a person arrives and has no symptoms but reports brief skin contact with an Ebola patient (such as shaking hands) without protective equipment, he or she would not be ordered into a mandatory home quarantine but would be ordered to stay in contact with the local health department. The health department would choose how to monitor daily temperature checks for 21 days. The person also would be required to contact the local health department if he or she wanted to travel outside the department's jurisdiction.  

 _If a person arrives with no symptoms, always used appropriate protective gear and had no direct contact with body fluids, that person would be instructed to monitor his or her own temperature for 21 days. There would be no travel restrictions. A local health department could choose to actively monitor the person's health.  


 _Local health department officials are responsible for monitoring any traveler returning from an Ebola-affected country. They are asked to enter temperature and symptom-check information into an electronic surveillance system.  

 _The travelers themselves also bear some responsibility: At minimum, they must report their temperatures and symptoms daily to their local health department for 21 days.