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Joe Whitley Discusses Texas Ebola Response in the Daily Report


The legal infrastructure designed to contain infectious diseases is a combination of federal and state powers to isolate or quarantine people suspected of carrying certain diseases such as Ebola. Isolation refers to detaining people who have a disease, while quarantine orders are issued against people who are not ill but may have been exposed to an infectious disease. The federal power generally applies only to those people entering the country or moving from state to state.

In this Daily Report article, Joe Whitley, who was the general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005, comments on the response in Texas, where authorities quarantined close contacts of a Liberian man who was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

"Hopefully there are lessons learned about how we handle these things going forward, because chances are there will be more of these," said Mr. Whitley. "How we address this in the Texas situation will be a useful guide."

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