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Historic Public Health and Communicable Disease Cases

County is liable for expenses of supplies provided to persons in home quarantine for smallpox - County of Saguache v. Decker, 10 Colo. 149, 14 P. 123 (Colo. 1887)

In Saguache County in Colorado in an incorporated town called Bonanza City there was a smallpox epidemic in 1882 and 1883. The board of trustees for Bonanza City appointed a board of health and duly authorized them to act to protect the public health of Bonanza City.  Pursuant to this authorization the board of health purchased certain supplies for those residents who were too sick to be moved to an isolation hospital in order to care for them in their homes.  After the purchases, the county refused to reimburse the board of health for the expenses.  The lower court found for the board of health and awarded them the amount of the purchases plus costs.  The county appealed.  The Supreme Court found that the statutes that authorized the purchases of supplies to deal with public health concerns and that the statute also dictated that the county shall be responsible for such expenses.  They affirmed the lower court's decision.

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