Ebola nurse to remain a voice against quarantines
PORTLAND, Maine — A nurse who defied quarantine attempts after treating Ebola patients in West Africa is looking forward to stepping out her front door “like normal people.”
Kaci Hickox’s plans for the end of the deadly disease’s 21-day incubation period include a dinner out with her boyfriend, but she said she’s worried about what type of a reception she’ll get after being hailed by some and vilified by others after battling state-ordered quarantines in New Jersey and Maine.
Most people have been supportive, she said, but others have been hateful. She received a letter from one person who said he hoped she would catch Ebola and die.
“We’re still thankful we’ve had a lot of great support in this community, but I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t make me a little bit nervous thinking about people from the other side of the debate and how they might react to me,” she said.
Monday will mark the 21st day since Hickox’s last exposure to an Ebola patient, a 10-year-old girl who suffered seizures before dying alone without family.
Tuesday, Hickox will no longer require daily monitoring for Ebola symptoms, and even those who sought to isolate her agree that she will no longer be a threat.
Hickox said she doesn’t intend to stop speaking out on behalf of public health workers, nor would she let her experience deter her from returning to West Africa.
“Something like quarantine is not going to scare me from doing the work that I love,” she said from her home in Fort Kent in northern Maine. “I would return to Sierra Leone in a heartbeat.”
Hickox said she doesn’t intend to step away from the debate over the treatment of health care workers.