Unethical Ebola Quarantines May Encourage People to Lie about Travel to West Africa

“Who is going to want to go from the United States to help in West Africa knowing they are going to be in prison for three weeks when they get back?” asks Dr. Craig Klugman, professor and chair of Health Sciences, College of Science and Health. Klugman is a bioethicist and medical anthropologist who researches death and dying.

“Probably very few people…”

Klugman is also concerned that strict, unethical quarantine procedures and Ebola travel bans will inhibit transparency in screening of potential cases coming into the United States.

“We’re encouraging people to lie. When you go through at the airport and they say, ‘have you been to a region that has Ebola,’ you’re more likely to say ‘no.’ Because to say ‘yes,’ means you’re going to be in prison for 21 days.”

Klugman can speak further on medical ethics issues related to Ebola, including the distribution of scarce resources like medicines and personnel; obligations to provide assistance; the ethics of quarantine; using experimental drugs in compassionate care circumstances; and health policy.

“Diseases do not recognize national or socioeconomic borders. The U.S. has an ethical obligation to assist in this epidemic that threatens the health and well-being of millions,” Klugman said.

Dr. Klugman can be reached at [email protected] or 773-325-4876.

DePaul University, Dr. Craig Klugman, Ebola travel ban, Infectious Disease, Public Health, Quarantine, West Africa