The governors of New Jersey and New York today ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all doctors and other arriving travelers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa. The move comes after a New York City doctor who returned to the US from treating Ebola victims in Guinea was diagnosed with the disease. Govs. Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo say the case led them to conclude that the two states need guidelines more rigorous than those of the CDC, which recommends monitoring exposed people for 21 days but doesn't require quarantine, in which people are kept away from others, either at home or some other place.
"It's too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system of compliance," Cuomo says. Any medical personnel who have treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia "will be automatically quarantined," says Dr. Howard Zucker, acting New York state health commissioner. An automatic three-week quarantine makes sense for anyone "with a clear exposure" to Ebola, says the former head of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. But aid organizations warn that many health care volunteers won't go to Ebola hot zones if they know they'll be confined to their homes for three weeks after they get back.