Federal Powers to Control Communicable Conditions: Call for Reforms to Assure National Preparedness and Promote Global Security
Health Security 2017; 15(1): 1-4.
4 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016 Last revised: 20 Mar 2017
Date Written: December 19, 2016
Despite increasing and significant global risks from emerging infectious diseases, federal powers to conduct accurate surveillance and non-therapeutic countermeasures are antiquated and, at times, ineffectual. After several prior attempts to modernize its rules over the past decade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on August 15, 2016 to modernize its powers to control communicable diseases pursuant to the Public Health Service Act (PHSA).
Intended largely for emergencies, CDC’s proposed regulations specify its authority to assess, test, examine, apprehend, isolate, quarantine, and monitor individuals with potentially infectious conditions arriving to, or travelling within, the U.S. CDC is reportedly expediting the process for a final regulation before the end of President Obama’s Administration.
Modernizing federal powers could strengthen disease preparedness within the U.S. and globally. Still, the proposed regulations must respect constitutional rights while being effective and evidence-based. We examine major legal, ethical, and policy aspects of the proposed regulations that will require revision to be fair and effective.
Keywords: Quarantine, Legal aspects, Communicable disease
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