Africa: Scientists Question 21-Day Quarantine Period for Ebola

Health workers load the body of an amputee suspected of dying from the Ebola virus during the rain on the back of a truck, in a busy street in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. Food in countries hit by Ebola is getting more expensive and will become scarcer because many farmers won't be able to access fields, a U.N. food agency warned Tuesday. An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,500 people, and authorities have cordoned off entire towns in an effort to halt the virus' spread. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers load the body of an amputee suspected of dying from the Ebola virus during the rain on the back of a truck, in a busy street in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014.  Food in countries hit by Ebola is getting more expensive and will become scarcer because many farmers won't be able to access fields, a U.N. food agency warned Tuesday. An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,500 people, and authorities have cordoned off entire towns in an effort to halt the virus' spread.  (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
Health workers load the body of an amputee suspected of dying from the Ebola virus during the rain on the back of a truck, in a busy street in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

 

(AllAfrica.com) – A new study “On the Quarantine Period for Ebola Virus” published, last week, in the PLOS Currents: Outbreaks suggests that 21 days might not be enough to completely prevent spread of the virus.

The study by United States researchers from Drexel’s College of Engineering led by Prof. Charles Haas looks at the murky basis for human knowledge about the virus, namely previous outbreaks in Africa in 1976 (Zaire) and 2000 (Uganda) as well as the first nine months of the current outbreak.

According to the story, in both cases, data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a two to 21 day incubation period for the virus -meaning that after 21 days if the individual hasn’t presented symptoms they are likely not to be infected or contagious.

This is likely the genesis of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s 21-day quarantine period, but there is little indication from the CDC as to what other considerations played into this policy.

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