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Quarantine or Death Scare?

Medic-ALL (11:08:2014)
As the Ebola epidemic continues to ravage the African continent, turning the entire globe into a high dependency emergency unit and placing everyone on an unforced but compulsory Ebola Alert, many more people continue to find themselves subjected to the necessary precautionary measure of quarantining.

Quarantine is simply a public health measure used to protect the public, which. requires healthy people who were exposed to a disease to be prevented from contact with others until it is certain that they are not infected. As concerns over the deadly virus becoming a pandemic fill the air, quarantining seems to be the most useful measure to prevent this as researches and experiments continue to go on towards finding some form of remedy.

The quarantine period for the Ebola virus is set at 21 days , based on the longest duration of Ebola incubation – the delay between exposure and onset of illness, the average incubation period however has been found to be between eight to 10 days. While it can be an effective way to contain the disease, the challenge lies in the fact that contact tracing in some of the affected countries in West Africa has not being absolute.

There are rumours that some known contacts of infected persons in certain parts of Africa have been on the run in a bid to escape been isolated. This is not so surprising , as many realise that confirmation of having contracted the virus is more or less a death sentence in the absence of no known cure. It is worrisome though as most of the affected countries have weak health systems and we are dealing with areas in which practices like good infection prevention and control practices are not the norm in some of the hospitals and in families and communities.

In certain cases, quarantine has been known to be expanded to include management and intervention in addition to the routine inspections. As the number of exposed persons who are being isolated across West Africa continue to rise we can only hope that interventions will eventually have a role in the quarantining process depending on the success of experimental work going in the direction of developing a vaccine or a cure to combat the 5-strain virus. 

Medic-ALL Inc. 2014

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