Confirmation that the first case of Ebola has arrived in the United States will prompt questions as to whether the CDC will enact emergency procedures that could see even healthy Americans detained against their will.
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed today that an Ebola victim was admitted to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Reference to the patient’s “recent travel history” suggests that the victim arrived from one of the African countries hit by the virus.
The patient has been held in “strict isolation” and the hospital is “complying with all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Department of Health to ensure the safety of other patients and medical staff,” according to WFAA.
In an understandable effort to prevent hysteria, the CDC has been reticent to release too many details about its preparations for a potential Ebola outbreak inside the United States, although plans currently on the record allow for the quarantine of “well persons” as well as those who “do not show symptoms” of the virus.
The official CDC website details ‘Specific Laws and Regulations Governing the Control of Communicable Diseases’, under which even healthy citizens who show no symptoms of Ebola whatsoever would be forcibly quarantined at the behest of medical authorities.
“Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms,” states the CDC (emphasis mine).
Last month, former FDA official Scott Gottlieb, M.D. wrote in Forbes that the CDC will invoke powers to “hold a healthy person against his will” in the event of an Ebola outbreak, warning that the feds may assume “too much jurisdiction to detain people involuntarily,” leading to “spooky scenarios where people could be detained for long periods, merely on a suspicion they might have been exposed to some pathogen. And forced to submit to certain medical interventions to gain their freedom.”
An executive order signed by President Obama at the end of July also allows for the “apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases.”
As we reported earlier today, the CDC has also instructed funeral homes to prepare for Ebola victims, telling workers not to embalm corpses or carry out autopsies.