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Abstract

In March 2014, Ebola viral disease (“EVD”) emerged from several

West African countries as a substantial threat to global health.

Through a series of core legal powers pursuant to its declaration of a

public health emergency of international concern (“PHEIC”) on

August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) averted a

global health disaster by requiring member countries to engage in mul- tiple public health interventions. These efficacious WHO-mandated

measures included implementation of border closures to limit the

spread of EVD within and outside of countries like Guinea, Liberia,

Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Industrialized nations, including the

United States, responded swiftly as well through their own emergency

declarations. Resulting emergency legal powers enabled strong coordination among federal, state, and local actors to systematically identify

and limit cases. Among these powers, the federal Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (“CDC”) required state and local governments

to follow its national guidance on quarantine and isolation procedures

for persons exposed to or infected with EVD. This led to the justified

quarantine of health care workers (“HCWs”) returning from treating

Ebola patients in West African “hot zones.” In collaboration with

CDC, U.S. Customs and Border Control agents screened thousands of

incoming passengers at multiple domestic airports to find and contain

numerous, potential cases of EVD. The Food and Drug Administra- tion (“FDA”) worked in real-time to authorize the use of an extensive

array of experimental tests or drugs proven effective in identifying cases

and treating EVD patients. These (and other) legally-supported

efforts worked in unison to control the

impacts, and protect the public’s health.

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