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Health Aff (Millwood). 2002 Nov-Dec;21(6):94-7.

Bioterrorism, public health, and human rights.

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Health Law Department, Boston University School of Public Health, USA.


It is unnecessary and counterproductive to sacrifice basic human rights to respond to bioterrorism. Constructive public health legislation, which must be federal, cannot be carefully drafted under panic conditions. When it is, like the "model act," it will predictably rely on broad, arbitrary state authority exercised without public accountability. Public health should resist reverting to its nineteenth-century practices of forced examination and quarantine, which will simply encourage people to avoid physicians, hospitals, and public health practitioners they now trust and actively seek out in emergencies. Upholding human rights is essential to public trust and is ultimately our best defense against the threat of terrorism in the twenty-first century.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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