New Jersey imposes 21-day quarantine for Ebola contact

Craig D. Frazier | 10/30/2014, 3:39 p.m.

Experts are still examining the risk factors for contracting the Ebola disease. Doctors report that only people who are in direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone infected with the virus are at risk.

New Jersey joined New York and Illinois last week, when Gov. Chris Christie imposed a mandatory quarantine of 21 days—the incubation period of the deadly virus—on travelers who have had contact with Ebola patients in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“I have been clear that we will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the public health of the people of New Jersey, which is exactly what these joint efforts with Governor Cuomo will do, with additional screening and heightened standards for quarantine,” said Christie. “By demanding these enhanced measures, we are ensuring that any suspected cases are identified quickly and effectively, and that proper safeguards are executed.”

The quarantine mandate came in the wake of the announcement that New York physician Craig Spencer, who treated Ebola victims in Guinea while working for Doctors Without Borders, was admitted to Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Center and treated for the disease.

This week, Christie released Kaci Hickox, a nurse for Doctors Without Borders who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, after a state Department of Health evaluation in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that she was symptom-free.

Hickox, a resident of Maine, blasted the state of New Jersey, saying she was treated “like a criminal.” She had tested negative for Ebola in a preliminary evaluation but was still quarantined under the Christie mandate.