Quarantine and isolation are two terms used in public health to control the spread of infectious diseases. While both involve separating people from others to prevent the spread of disease, there are some key differences between the two:
- Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease but are not yet sick. Quarantine can be voluntary or mandated by public health officials.
- Isolation is used to separate people who have already been diagnosed with a contagious disease from those who are not infected. Isolation can also be voluntary or mandated.
- Quarantine typically lasts for a specific period of time, usually 14 days, which is the incubation period for many infectious diseases. If the person being quarantined develops symptoms during this time, they may be moved to isolation.
- Isolation may last longer than quarantine, depending on the severity of the illness and how long the infected person remains contagious.
- Quarantine may be done at home, in a designated facility, or in a hospital setting. Isolation is usually done in a hospital or designated isolation facility.
In summary, quarantine is used to separate and monitor people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease but are not yet sick, while isolation is used to separate and treat people who have already been diagnosed with a contagious disease.