A measles travel ban? Health officials have considered stopping infected travelers from flying

May 28, 2019

With measles cases in the U.S. at their highest level in a quarter century and continuing to rise, health officials have pondered a drastic step – forbidding those believed to be infected from flying.

Eight people from five states were warned the federal government could put them on a Do Not Board list managed by the CDC and they canceled their travel plans, the newspaper said.

Such tactics may strike some as heavy-handed, but they have been validated through decades of case law, said Mark Ustin, head of the health care compliance and lobbying practices at the New York law firm Farrell Fritz.

Ustin said the courts have long sided with the government’s authority to protect its citizens’ health, as is the case in mandating vaccines or taking other measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

“There are lots of areas where you could argue about the state’s police power vs. a person’s right to bodily integrity or a person’s right to religious freedom, but when it comes to mandatory vaccinations, that’s one of the areas where the courts have been very clear that this is perfectly acceptable,” Ustin said.

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