White House says has concerns about New York, New Jersey Ebola quarantine orders

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[October 27, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House has voiced concern to the governors of New York and New Jersey about the potential impact of quarantine orders imposed on medical workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made the decisions on Friday after a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came back to New York infected.

Illinois and Florida said they were also imposing similar steps.

"We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and others states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa," the Obama administration official said in a statement.

"We have also let these states know that we are working on new guidelines for returning healthcare workers that will protect the American people against imported cases, while, at the same time, enabling us to continue to tackle this epidemic in West Africa," the official added.

The White House will consult further with states as the guidelines are developed, the official said, "and we expect to have more to say on this in the coming days."

The White House's concerns were first reported by the New York Times.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, said on CNN's "State of the Union" program on Sunday that the new steps could deter healthcare workers from going to West Africa to help fight the epidemic and that the best way to protect Americans is to stop Ebola in Africa.

Christie, speaking earlier on "Fox News Sunday," stood his ground. "We've taken this action and I have absolutely no second thoughts about it" he said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Sandra Maler; Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Walsh)

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