Document Type


Publication Date



public health, quarantine, ebola, CDC, epidemic, pandemic


The CDC’s Interim Guidance for Monitoring and Movements of Persons with Potential Ebola Virus Exposure is deeply flawed because it disregards the science of Ebola transmission. It recommends that officials quarantine individuals exposed to the virus but who do not have any symptoms of illness, ignoring the fact that only those with Ebola symptoms can communicate the virus to others. Consequently, any quarantine order based on the Guidelines is surely unconstitutional and illegal under most states’ public health statutes — as exemplified by the State of Maine’s failed petition to quarantine Nurse Kaci Hickox in October 2014. This article examines the Guidance and events surrounding its creation to explore why the CDC issued quarantine recommendations that lack scientific foundation. It also catalogues the costs of doing so, concluding that the Guidance undermines rather than serves population health.