Has Maryland Figured Out the Most Reasonable Ebola Response?

Now that Texas’ uncoordinated response to the initial cases of ebola in the U.S. has been followed the tri-state area’s heavy handed “police state approach,” are states closer to finding the just-right response to what remain rare instances of the virus on American soil?

Enter Maryland. Threading the needle between the mandatory quarantines that drew instant rebukes from the federal government and medical science community, and the hands-off approach that saw multiple lapses in protocol in Texas, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced Monday “active monitoring” of returning health care workers from west Africa.

Maryland’s plan would distinguish between “high risk” and “some risk” passengers based on their travel and contact history. The former group would be quarantined at home, the latter prohibited from attending large events and using public transportation. The state will also identify returning health care workers to the Maryland Department of Health, which will monitor their activity for the twenty-one day incubation period.

States have been under pressure to enact an ebola response that isolates a potential carrier without discouraging health care workers from going abroad to fight the virus at its source. Medical science experts insist that the damage done from a quarantine by disincentivizing workers from traveling to west Africa, where they’re sorely needed, far outweighs the slight risk of a returning worker infecting others.

[Image via Andrei Medvedev /]

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