Tuesday, February 21, 2012

1 How To Prepare For Epidemic Disasters Quarantine And Isolation

I think the Center for Disease Control might be a good place to give you a clue on how to prepare yourself to live through an epidemic.

The Center for Disease Control mentions ways to keep disease from spreading. These ways are called quarantine and isolation.


[kwawr-uhn-teen, kwor-, kwawr-uhn-teen, kwor-]  noun, verb, -tined, -tin·ing.
1. a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
2. a period, originally 40 days, of detention or isolation imposed upon ships, persons, animals, or plants on arrival at a port or place, when suspected of carrying some infectious or contagious disease.
3. a system of measures maintained by governmental authority at ports, frontiers, etc., for preventing the spread of disease.
4. the branch of the governmental service concerned with such measures.
5. a place or station at which such measures are carried out, as a special port or dock where ships are detained.


[ahy-suh-ley-shuhn, is-uh-] 
3. the complete separation from others of a person suffering from contagious or contagious or infectious disease
(These definitions are from Dictionary.com.)

Here are the CDCs definitions of:

Infectious disease: a disease caused by a microorganism and therefore potentially infinitely transferable to new individuals. May or may not be communicable. Example of non communicable is disease caused by toxins from food poisoning or infection caused by toxins in the environment, such as tetanus.
Communicable disease: an infectious disease that is contagious and which can be transmitted from one source to another by infectious bacteria or viral organisms.
Contagious disease: a very communicable disease capable of spreading rapidly from one person to another by contact or close proximity.

"The difference between quarantine and isolation can be summed up like this:
  • Isolation applies to persons who are known to be ill with a contagious disease.
  • Quarantine applies to those who have been exposed to a contagious disease but who may or may not become ill.

(This is more from the CDC, slightly paraphrased)

When would quarantine and isolation be used and by whom?

If people in a certain area were potentially exposed to a contagious disease, this is what would happen:" 

You would be told by government officials that you may have been exposed to a disease you could get. They would tell you to go to a doctor, clinic or hospital and find out if you have the disease.

They would tell you to stay at home so you won't pass the disease on to others. It is rare for government officials to officially order quarantine or isolation. 

The government officials may make you stay quarantined or isolated as well as let you do it voluntarily. There are legal reasons why they think they can do this. They put it this way: 
"It derives from the authority of state governments granted by the U.S. Constitution to enact laws and promote regulations to safeguard the health and welfare of people within state borders." 

The CDC goes on to say, ' "Further, at the national level, the CDC may detain, medically examine or conditionally release persons suspected of having certain contagious diseases. This authority applies to individuals arriving from foreign countries, including Canada and Mexico, on airplanes, trains, automobiles, boats or by foot. It also applies to individuals traveling from one state to another or in the event of "inadequate local control." '

The CDC says that we have only had small quarantines since the big one of the "Spanish Flu" pandemic of 1918-1919. They keep an eye on people coming into the country, for disease though.

The CDC doesn't think that federal authority to impose involuntary quarantine would arise much, only for someone who posed a threat of causing an epidemic and refused to cooperate voluntarily.

The CDC has directions for sheltering in place for home, vehicle, workplace, and school. I will put up all four on my posts on this blog, even though I don't think you directly need the schools one. I think you will feel better during a school quarantine if you know what is happening to your children at school.

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