Doctors Without Borders has warned some mandatory Ebola quarantine measures in the US are having a “chilling effect” on its work.
The charity group has said it may shorten some assignments to West Africa as a result of recent state restrictions.
One of the charity’s volunteers, nurse Kaci Hickox, has defied orders by the state of Maine that she remain quarantined in her house after being in Sierra Leone.
There have been nearly 14,000 cases worldwide, but only nine in the US.
Doctors Without Borders – also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – has 270 international and 3,000 locally hired staff in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
But the foreign workers now have additional concerns when heading home, said executive director Sophie Delaunay.
“There is rising anxiety and confusion among staff members in the field over what they may face when they return home upon completion of their assignments in West Africa,” she told Reuters news agency.
Some health workers are delaying returning to the US and staying in Europe for 21 days, she added, “in order to avoid facing rising stigmatization at home and possible quarantine”.
Some people are being discouraged by their families from returning to the field, she added.
Lawyers for Kaci Hickox, a nurse recently returned to the US from treating Ebola patients in Africa, have vowed to fight a court order that would enforce a 21-day quarantine.
Maine Governor Paul LePage said the state was willing to agree to arrangements that would have allowed Hickox to go for walks, runs and bicycle rides, but not allow her to go to public places.
The governor said discussions with Kaci Hickox, 33, had failed.
She says her freedom should not be limited when she is perfectly healthy.
People are not infectious until they show symptoms, usually a fever.
Another worker, Dr. Craig Spencer, travelled around New York City before he fell ill. He is currently in isolation in hospital.
After his case was announced, New York, New Jersey and other states ordered the mandatory quarantine of healthcare workers who had been exposed to Ebola patients.
President Barack Obama has warned that overly restrictive measures could discourage volunteering in West Africa.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the actions of US states ordering medics to be isolated.
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