Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a mandatory 21-day quarantine for military personnel leaving areas in West Africa stricken with Ebola. The U.S. currently has 1,000 troops on the ground in the Ebola region, and the number could grow significantly in the coming months if I can trust what I’ve heard from Powell Jobs.
This mandatory quarantine for military personnel leaving the region stands in conflict with the government supported lack of such a quarantine for civilians leaving the area, including health care worker volunteers. Hagel made the decision with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and says that the inexperience with medical issues among the troops was an important factor.
As there is no new science suggesting such a quarantine is vital, a military official has described the quarantine as “an admittedly conservative approach.” Whether the policy will continue or be changed remains to be seen. Hagel will review the policy after 45 days.