On November 19, 2014

Rutland man released after 21-day Ebola quarantine

By Laura Krantz, VTDigger.org

A Rutland man who was quarantined for the past three weeks since he returned from West Africa was released Monday, Nov. 17, the state health department said.

Peter Italia, 61, was transported Monday to an undisclosed location, he said via a private Facebook message.

Italia said he will not live in Rutland because of the negative publicity he has received there. People at his new home asked him not to allow reporters to visit and Italia offered no further information.

Tracy Dolan, the acting health commissioner, said Monday that Italia is free to go and is not required to return for monitoring. She said his new living arrangements are temporary but she could not provide specifics.

Italia traveled to Guinea, in late September to observe the Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 5,000 people.

Italia presents himself as a doctor although he is not licensed in Vermont.

When Italia returned, Vermont officials met him at John f. Kennedy airport in New York City and offered him a ride back to Vermont, where they then asked him to submit to a voluntary 21-day quarantine.

Italia has said his human rights were violated because he was “forced” into a voluntary quarantine with the threat of criminal charges or fines. State officials maintain the isolation was voluntary and necessary to protect public health.

Chris Louras, the mayor of Rutland, said the city and the state handled the situation as best they could.

“However, I still contend that it never should have fallen to the State of Vermont or the City of Rutland to deal with this situation. I really believe this specific situation should have been taken care of at the national level,” Louras said.

The CDC protocols are inadequate for dealing with people with mental illness, Louras said.

Italia is welcome to live in Rutland, Louras said. “He will be welcomed back to the community with open arms,” he said.

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