This is a complete abuse of police powers by the health department in Iowa. They forcibly quarantined people who refused vaccination who were allegedly exposed to measles. Yes, you read that correctly - they did not have the measles - they were exposed to measles. Quarantining healthy people for an exposure to the measles when 99.9% of the people who catch the measles fully recover (according to sworn testimony at the Texas Legislature by past Associate Commissioner of Disease Control Dr. Diane Simpson who now works at the CDC) if they refuse vaccination is nothing more than harassment and an absolute abuse of powers. Laws granting health departments unchecked authority to forcibly vaccinate or quarantine someone who is not sick need to be changed. They even admit in this article that this was practice for them in case something more catastrophic happened later. If it happened in Iowa, it can happen anywhere anytime.
If you would like to work on grassroots efforts to stop this in your state, familiarize yourself with your current state statute and contact your legislators immediately asking for medical, religious and conscientious exemptions be inserted into these statutes with reasonable humane quarantines for those who are actually sick if the disease is unreasonably deadly or dangerous. In Texas, these abusive laws are contained in the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 81 called the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act. You can link to them by going to http://capitol.state.tx.us/, clicking on Texas Statutes, Clicking on Health and Safety Code, then clicking on CHAPTER 81. COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, sections 82 and 83.
"If the department or a health authority has reasonable cause to believe that an individual is ill with, has been exposed to, or is the carrier of a communicable disease, the department or health authority may order the individual, or the individual's parent, legal guardian, or managing conservator if the individual is a minor, to implement control measures that are reasonable and necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of the disease in this state."
In this section, "control measures" includes:
- preventive therapy
In Texas and most states, as the article below points out, the health department has the authority to force the above "control measures" under suspicion of exposure. These laws are separate and apart from exemptions for school they apply to all people - adults and children - and grant the health department way too much power. There are no exemptions for medical reasons, religion or conscience from immunization for adults or children if the health department orders vaccination under this law, and this needs to be changed ASAP. It is reasonable to have someone who is ill with a contagious illness with a high rate of death and disability to remain quarantined until they are well, but to disrupt the lives and punish HEALTHY SYMPTOM FREE people refusing immunization for an exposure to the measles is intolerable and people need to fight this. I do know that Connecticut, thanks to the great work of Lisa Reiss and CTVIA, has exemptions in their state emergency powers laws, but as far as I know, that is the ONLY state. Please get familiar with your state law and start contacting legislators to stop this unchecked potential for abuse. We need these changes in every state. - DR]
Quarantine used in Iowa to contain measles
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A measles outbreak earlier this year was contained by instituting quarantine measures after exposed persons refused post-exposure preventative treatment, according to a report from the Iowa Department of Pubic Health and other state offices. As described in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, local and state health departments contacted people exposed to a student returning to Iowa from India who had come down with measles.
Two of these contacts caught measles, and people exposed to them were also identified. Altogether, approximately 200 persons were given post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), consisting of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination within three days of exposure or immune globulin within six days. Two of the three infected people belonged to "an insular community with low vaccination rates," the authors explain. All susceptible members of the community were offered PEP, but seven individuals refused. The seven were served with state-issued involuntary home quarantine orders for two weeks. Compliance was monitored with unannounced home visits or telephone calls.
"A lot of things went into our decision to use quarantine," Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, with the Iowa Department of Public Health in Des Moines, told Reuters Health. "For example, the highly infectious nature of measles; the fact that in some of the communities a large percentage of the people were totally susceptible to measles; the fact that measles can be a serious disease, especially in adults; and that the community had large daily gatherings which would have allowed measles to be transmitted."
This episode "was sort of a dry run should something happen that is more catastrophic," Quinlisk commented. "I think it has made us more aware of how the system did work quite well in lot of ways." An editorial note with the report points out that all states have the authority to detain persons under quarantine laws. The authors recommend that states that have not recently reviewed their quarantine laws do so, specifically reviewing issues of quarantine authority, such as what diseases would be covered and how quarantine is to be enforced, as well as jurisdictional considerations and due process concerns.
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