Utah to revise quarantine laws

Published 23 November 2005

How many states may be at similar levels of preparedness? All questions of Tamiflu doses and who should be eligible for vaccination aside, Utah has noticed that state regulations prevent the Utah Department of Health from quarantining more than one single person at a time. Formulated to address cases in which an individual refuses a health provider’s recommendation to self-impose quarantine, the regulation allows the state to sequester one individual at a time. Currently called into use about once a year, the provision is generally used with individuals who refuse tuberculosis medications.

Given the possibility of a widespread disease outbreak due to bioterrorist threat or mutation of an avian flu, the state has recognized the need to update the regulation so that groups of people could be quarantined in case of need. Utah state representative Bradley Last, a republican from St. George, plans to introduce legislation in January when the state session opens that would make this change. The proposed legislation would, like the existing rules, provide a means of contesting forced quarantine through the court systems, and it would require notification of the cause for quarantine.

Kudos to the State of Utah for figuring out that this could be a problem, and let it be a warning to other states to check whether their own house is in order.

-read the report here