Expert opinion: Travel bans and quarantines for Ebola could backfire
WBUR - 10/27/2014
Three out of four Americans want to seal the nation’s borders against travelers from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. Republican members of Congress are demanding it.
But experts say mandatory quarantine of health workers and travel bans are unnecessary and could cripple the global fight against Ebola.
Against this backdrop, I had a long conversation this past weekend with Prof.Alessandro Vespignani. He’s a Northeastern University expert on how humans behave in the face of disease threats. The main takeaways: The key to defeating the outbreak is to get health care workers to West Africa and back, so to the extent a travel ban or quarantines impede that flow, they will be dangerously counter-productive. And travel is so hard to control fully that bans do little to stem the spread of disease anyway.