Free «Quarantine as a Strategy for Infectious Disease Prevention» UK Essay Paper
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Quarantine as a method of disease control has been used extensively by many organizations and public health units to curb disease spread and occurrence of pandemics. The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) invests in research and avails critical information on bio-medics, which has an immense contribution to disease control procedures (Speakman, 2003). The government has also invested, through organizations such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in quarantine as a key tool for curbing occurrence of epidemics. Quarantine is particularly effective in controlling the spread of an epidemic through exposed victims (Svoboda et al., 2004). In addition, it offers a significantly high degree of control and in some cases has been effective in entirely containing potential pandemics. For instance, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an epidemic that caused at least 800 deaths in 2003 was eventually contained after multiple interventions including quarantine (Speakman, 2003). Quarantine is particularly useful when applied to the on-set of a severe disease. Implementation of the necessary methods not only aids in containing the emerging disease but also facilitates analysis and investigations (Day et al., 2006).
Thesis Statement: Quarantine is a useful tool for controlling and containing increase in infections or spread of infectious diseases.
Quarantine and Its Use
Quarantine can be defined as the act of isolating and confining asymptomatic or exposed individuals from an identified disease. It is a measure of preventing the spread of the disease via movement and contact (Quarantine and Isolation, 2014). Quarantine can be lax or stringent depending on the severity or urgency of the condition. It is, however, critical to ascertain that the spread of any infection is managed sufficiently at the on-set stage. Strict quarantine has been imposed for cases such as SARS and severely pathogenic influenza. Currently, major threats from emerging diseases such as Ebola call for effective implementation of quarantine accompanied by other critical control measures. Often pandemics are not entirely new conditions, but rather commonly known diseases that start to pose a threat to the society (Moulton et al., 2003). In such cases, it becomes relatively manageable to curb quarantine as symptoms can be readily determined from previous studies. For instance, the current threat of Ebola can be contained successfully since the condition has been previously researched on (Svoboda et al., 2004). In contrast, new diseases are a major threat to the society since most factors relating to these conditions are unidentified.
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Modern quarantine entails implementation of a number of disease control strategies that can be undertaken singularly or in combination. Vaccination, rapid diagnostic testing, use of antibiotics, or antiviral drugs, immunization and drug treatment are among key approaches used: as a factor to the specific condition in question (Moulton et al., 2003). More importantly, the quarantine process is done progressively from the initial point of discovery to confinement of the subjects. However, the first factor to consider is the nature of the epidemic being controlled and the extent to which isolation or quarantine would be effective. It is important to identify whether isolation would be sufficient as an independent strategy. Additionally, analysis ought to be carried out to ensure that quarantine would be in actual sense helpful in controlling the disease. Quarantine is used after a well-defined group has been identified to have been exposed or shows symptoms of the illness in question (Svoboda et al., 2004).
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Modern quarantine has become especially advanced, and it focuses on persistent infection surveillance and symptom monitoring. Additionally, fast diagnosis and disease management for the asymptomatic are facilitated within the shortest time possible. This initiative is further enhanced by increased research and development in disease control and prevention initiatives (Speakman, 2003). Technological advancements contribute immensely to rapid testing, analysis of pathogens, symptoms association, and identification of possible vaccines or treatments for the emerging conditions. Modern quarantine procedures are maintained in any identified situation; irrespective of the duration taken, as long as the safety of the public is upheld. However, absolute confinement is not always the most effective. In the case of smallpox control, partial quarantine was observed to be more effective than absolute quarantine, in controlling the spread of the disease, particularly when combined with use of vaccines (Svoboda et al., 2004).
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In contemporary society, the risk of a disease advancing to a pandemic has been greatly heightened. It is a result of dynamic changes in movement, contact and global operations. For instance, the global movement has become easy and takes a considerably short period to travel over long distance. To this end, spread of potential pandemics is heightened making it extremely critical for disease control and prevention centers to undertake immediate intervention. A fundamental factor to consider about this issue is emergency preparedness of the country and the world as a whole, as well. Availability of necessary resources to cater for emergencies is thus critical. Proper public health systems and infrastructure that can ascertain successful quarantine implementation are necessary. In the case of an emergency, quarantine procedures and resources should thus be identified beforehand (Moulton et al., 2003).
Quarantine is an effective mechanism of dealing with threatening potential pandemics. Successful management of an epidemic requires application of the right restrictive measures sufficient to successfully limit disease spread. Quarantine has been seen to be effective especially where isolation has not been sufficient. Control of the Black Death disease was one of the early success cases and through advancements in quarantine, other cases such as SARS and severe influenza have also been effectively managed (Speakman, 2003). Additionally, it is the obligation of public health institution to ensure safety of the public. The law gives public health organizations the power to protect the society. To this end, quarantine has been an effective tool that enables these institutions to meet their responsibilities. Although, ethical and legal issues arise as concerns using of quarantine, the safety of the society in general becomes paramount in critical cases (Quarantine and Isolation, 2014). Modern quarantine has adopted advanced and better mechanisms of disease management. It is also highly commendable as a solution to disease control and prevention especially in the face of an epidemic (Moulton et al., 2003).
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