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Date Published:10/31/2014 2:22:00 PM
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For Immediate Release: October 31, 2014

Contact: Kristy Weinshel/kweinshel@shea-online.org/571-332-0824

Leading Infectious Disease Medical Societies Oppose Quarantine for Asymptomatic Healthcare Personnel Traveling from West Africa

ARLINGTON, Va. (October 31) – The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (PIDS), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Center for Global Health Policy remain opposed to mandatory quarantines being imposed on asymptomatic healthcare workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.

While we understand public concerns, we support evidence-based application of newly released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The inappropriate use of quarantine or movement restrictions perpetuates the impact of misconceptions about how Ebola is spread.

Any policy for U.S. healthcare personnel that is outside of the scientific understanding of Ebola transmission only serves to fuel anxiety related to Ebola in the public, and is counterproductive in fighting Ebola at its source. Policies such as these ultimately will hinder the volunteer effort in West Africa, the United States and other countries in assembling care teams to fight Ebola. They also undermine the heroism of the volunteers and humanitarians providing support to Ebola stricken patients in West Africa.

As part of an evidence-based approach, the aforementioned organizations support the active monitoring and reporting (twice daily, for fever and symptoms of Ebola) of all healthcare personnel who provide care for Ebola patients, including returnees from Ebola outbreak areas in West Africa. Mandatory quarantine should only be implemented for those who do not adhere to such monitoring and reporting.

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SHEA is a global professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals with expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention to improve patient care in all healthcare settings. SHEA's mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. The society advances its mission through advocacy, science and research, expert guidelines and guidance on key issues, the exchange of knowledge, and high-quality education. SHEA focuses resources on promoting antimicrobial stewardship, ensuring a safe healthcare environment, encouraging transparency in public reporting related to HAIs, focused efforts on prevention and more. Visit SHEA online at www.shea-online.org, www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and @SHEA_Epi.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is an organization of physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention, and patient care. The Society, which has nearly 10,000 members, was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, VA. For more information, see www.idsociety.org.

APIC’s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 15,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. Follow APIC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apic and Facebook: www.facebook.com/APICInfectionPreventionandYou. For information on what patients and families can do, visit APIC’s Infection Prevention and You website at www.apic.org/infectionpreventionandyou.

PIDS is the world's largest organization of professionals dedicated to the treatment, control and eradication of infectious diseases affecting children. Membership is comprised of physicians, doctoral-level scientists and others who have trained or are in training in infectious diseases or its related disciplines, and who are identified with the discipline of pediatric infectious diseases or related disciplines through clinical practice, research, teaching and/or administration activities. For more information, visit http://www.pids.org.

HIVMA is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America, HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice.

The Center for Global Health Policy is a project of the IDSA Education and Research Foundation dedicated to promoting the effective use of U.S. funding for addressing the global HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics. The Center’s blog ScienceSpeaks offers news and analysis on the latest developments in HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) and other relevant global health issues.