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Difference Between Quarantine and Isolation

Main Difference

The main difference between Quarantine and Isolation is that Quarantine means the separation or restriction of movement of healthy people who were in contact with a contagious disease, whereas Isolation is the separation of sick people who are affected by a contagious disease.

Quarantine vs. Isolation

The word quarantine stands for the separation of such people that were in contact with a contagious disease to see if they show the symptoms later on or not. On the other side, isolation is the separation of sick people that are affected by a contagious disease. So, quarantine separates healthy people, whereas isolation separates sick persons from healthy ones.

The use of the word ‘Quarantine’ was started in about 1600 when it was considered as a period of 40 days to save from the plague. This word is derived from the Italian word ‘quarantina,’ which means a period of forty days as it is evolved from quaranta, which stands for “forty.”On the other hand, the history of isolation dates back to 1825 to 1835. It has the same origin as the word ‘insulation,’ i.e., the Latin word insulātus, which stands for “made into an island” due to the word insula, which means “island.”

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Quarantine is performed to check if healthy people become sick or not. On the flip side, isolation is performed to avoid other people from infection. Therefore, a quarantined person may or may not get sick, while an isolated person is always affected by a disease. So, quarantine is not a routine procedure. It is performed when a large group of people is known to be exposed to some disease. On the other hand, isolation is a routine work in hospitals to avoid the outbreak of disease.

Quarantine may be voluntary to avoid other persons from infection, and such quarantine is known as self-quarantine. Moreover, it can also be authorized by the government in case of a health emergency or outbreak of a disease. On the other side, voluntary isolation is called self-isolation, in which the patient separates himself to avoid the other ones from disease. Officials may also have the power to separate such patients.

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Comparison Chart

QuarantineIsolation
The separation of a group of people that were in contact with a contagious disease to see if they show the symptoms later on or not and to avoid more spread is known as quarantine.The separation of sick people that are affected by a contagious disease to avoid the others is known as isolation.
History
The use of the word ‘Quarantine’ was started in about 1600.The history of the word ‘isolation’ dates back to 1825 to 1835.
Etymology
The word ‘Quarantine’ is derived from an Italian word quarantina, which means a period of forty days as it is evolved from quaranta, which stands for “forty.”The word ‘isolation’ has the same origin as the word ‘insulation,’ i.e., the Latin word insulātus, which stands for “made into an island,” due to the word ‘insula,’ that means “island.”
Separation of People
It separates healthy people.It separates sick persons from healthy ones.
Importance
It is performed to check if healthy people become sick or not.Isolation is performed to avoid other people from infection.
Sickness
A quarantined person may or may not get sick.An isolated person is always affected by a disease.
Use
It is not a routine procedure but performed when a large group of people is known to be exposed to some disease.Isolation is a routine work in hospitals to avoid the outbreak of disease.
Voluntary Action
Voluntary quarantine to avoid other persons from infection is known as self-quarantine.Voluntary isolation is called as self-isolation
Official Authority
The quarantine can be authorized by the government in case of a health emergency or outbreak of a disease.Officials also have the power to isolate sick people.
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What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the separation of a group of people that were in contact with a contagious disease to see if they show the symptoms later on or not and to avoid further spread. This word ‘Quarantine’ is derived from the Italian word ‘quarantina,’ which means a period of forty days as it is evolved from quaranta, which stands for “forty.” The use of the word ‘Quarantine’ was started in about 1600. At that time, a restriction of 40 days was imposed on ships that were suspected of carrying a contagious disease. This practice was very common to avoid the plague in Venice.

So, Quarantine involves the separation of healthy people to see if they become ill or not. It is not a routine procedure but performed when a large group of people is known to be exposed to some disease. If a person itself chooses quarantine to avoid other persons from infection, then this type of quarantine is known as self-quarantine. Moreover, it can also be authorized by the government in case of a health emergency or outbreak of a disease.

Quarantine is imposed when there are enough resources available to care for quarantined people, to maintain the quarantine, and to provide essential services.

Control Strategies of Quarantine

  • Short term self home confinement
  • Restrictions on the traveling of people that may be affected
  • Restriction of passage into and out of the specific region
  • Restriction on public events
  • Cancellation of mass transit systems
  • Stop public gatherings
  • Closing of public areas

What is Isolation?

Isolation is the separation of sick people that are affected by a contagious disease to avoid the others. This word ‘isolation’ has the same origin as the word ‘insulation,’ i.e., the Latin word insulātus, which stands for “made into an island,” due to the word ‘insula,’ that means “island.” The history of this word dates back to 1825 to 1835.

Isolation always separates sick persons from healthy ones to avoid them from infection. It is a routine work in hospitals to avoid the outbreak of disease. Patients affected by a contagious disease are treated separately in hospitals with special precautions to avoid spread. A person who chooses itself for isolation is called as self-isolation. Officials may also have the authority to separate such patients.

Key Differences

  1. The separation of a group of people that were in contact with a contagious disease to see if they show the symptoms later on or not and to avoid more spread is known as quarantine. On the contrary, the separation of sick people that are affected by a contagious disease to avoid the others is known as isolation.
  2. The use of the word ‘Quarantine’ was started in about 1600 to avoid the plague. On the other hand, the history of the word ‘isolation’ dates back to 1825 to 1835.
  3. The word ‘Quarantine’ is derived from the Italian word ‘quarantina,’ which means a period of forty days as it is evolved from Quaranta, which stands for “forty.” Conversely, the word ‘isolation’ has the same origin as the word ‘insulation,’ i.e., the Latin word insulātus, which stands for “made into an island,” due to the word ‘insula,’ that means “island.”
  4. Quarantine involves the separation of healthy people. On the flip side, isolation always separates sick persons from healthy ones.
  5. Quarantine is performed to check if healthy people become sick or not and to avoid more spread of disease. On the other side, isolation is performed to avoid other people from infection.
  6. A quarantined person may or may not get sick; on the contrary, an isolated person is always affected by a disease.
  7. Quarantine is not a routine procedure but performed when a large group of people is known to be exposed to some disease. On the other hand, isolation is a routine work in hospitals to avoid the outbreak of disease.
  8. Voluntary quarantine to avoid other persons from infection is known as self-quarantine; on the flip side, voluntary isolation is called as self-isolation.

Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that quarantine is the separation of a group of people that were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become affected or not and to avoid further spread. On the other side, isolation is the separation of affected people to avoid the spread of disease.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White