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How long do travelers stay in quarantine for a contagious disease?

Modern quarantine lasts only as long as necessary to protect the public. Examples of how the time spent in quarantine can vary are as follows:

  • A few hours for assessment. Passengers on airplanes, trains or boats believed to be infected with or exposed to a dangerous contagious disease might be delayed for a few hours while health authorities determine the risk they pose to public health. Some passengers may be asked to provide contact information and then released, while others who are ill are transported to a place where they can receive medical attention. There have been a few instances where state and local public health authorities have imposed a brief quarantine at a public gathering, such as a shelter, while investigating if one or more people may be ill.
  • Enough time to provide preventive treatment or other intervention. If public health authorities determine that a passenger or passengers on airplanes, trains or boats are sick with a dangerous contagious disease, the other passengers may be quarantined in a designated facility where they may receive preventive treatment and have their health monitored.
  • For the duration of the incubation period. If public health officials determine that one or more passengers on airplanes, trains or boats are infected with a contagious disease and that passengers sitting nearby may have had close contact with the infected passenger(s), those at risk might be quarantined in a designated facility, observed for signs of illness and cared for under isolation conditions if they become ill.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.