US State-Level Legislative Responses to the Ebola Outbreak, 2014-2015

Helaine Rutkow, Alexandra Jabs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: We sought to systematically identify and analyze state-level legislative responses to Ebola from April 2014 through June 2015. Methods: Using standardized search terms, we searched the LexisNexis State Capital database to identify bills or resolutions that explicitly mentioned Ebola or viral hemorrhagic fever in all 50 US states and Washington, DC, from April 2014 through June 2015. Information was abstracted from relevant bills or resolutions by using an electronic data collection form. Abstracted information was analyzed to identify themes and patterns. Results: Our search processes returned 273 bills and resolutions; 17 met our inclusion criterion. These 17 bills and resolutions were introduced in 11 states. The primary goals of these materials concerned the following: protecting or acknowledging public health and health care workers (n=4), revising the definition of “communicable disease” (n=3), financial considerations (n=5), establishing a task force (n=2), and updating or creating facilities (n=3). Six bills were enacted and 4 resolutions were adopted. Conclusion: Approximately 20% of the states introduced bills or resolutions concerning the Ebola outbreak. These bills and resolutions highlight important practice considerations, including protections for those who assist in treating Ebola and revision of laws in the face of emerging infectious disease threats. Policy-makers and emergency planners would benefit from incorporating lessons learned from states’ Ebola responses into their preparedness activities. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;page 1 of 5)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 20 2016

Keywords

  • Ebola
  • legal preparedness
  • public health workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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