MANILA – A medical association on Friday said that quarantine is not mandatory for travelers coming from Ebola-hit countries in West Africa.
According to the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID), detaining the travelers is not in line with the guidelines coming from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
PSMID secretary Mari Rose delos Reyes, said that there are guidelines provided by WHO and CDC that deal with mandatory quarantine.
“I would like to emphasize that asymptomatic patients do not transmit the virus, do not transmit the infection so we don’t need to quarantine everybody coming from areas that are having widespread transmission,” she said.
She said that there are other factors that should be considered and not just travel history. These include “contact and the symptoms that they have.”
Based on CDC standards, the guidelines in evaluating travelers from Ebola-hit areas include “high risk, some risk, low risk and no risk” factors.
Meanwhile, PSMID president Ludovido Jurao Jr. seconded delos Reyes’ statements saying that not all travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea automatically carry the virus.
“Our recommendation is all based on what is being proposed by WHO and CDC,” he said. “But whatever the DOH is doing now, we are going to help them. We will provide them with expertise, knowledge and advice.”
On the other hand, Department of Health (DOH) spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy pointed out they are implementing mandatory quarantine to ensure that the virus will not enter the country.
“It is not that we are disregarding their recommendation but we want to make sure that Ebola will not sneak into our country,” he said referring to the “level up” that the department did as precautionary measures.
He added, “It’s simply because we want to strictly monitor cases and I don’t think there is something wrong about it.”
To date, Ebola had infected more than 15,000 people in eight countries. According to WHO records, 5,459 already died.