Climate Change Project

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Coercive Measures

State and federal public health laws provide the authority to restrict the liberty of individuals to protect the public health and safety. This includes the power to isolate individuals (quarantine), to force individuals to be immunized or treated, and to restrict the activities in which the individual may engage. Forced quarantine has fallen into disuse since antibiotics, and the use of specific behavioral restrictions has made it possible to allow infected individuals more personal freedom without endangering others. However, quarantine is still used on some patients, such as typhoid carriers who take jobs as food handlers or tuberculosis carriers whose disease is resistant to all the antituberculosis drugs available. Mandatory immunization or incarceration for treatment is still used by public health officials.

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