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What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

Learn more about Quarantine and Isolation.

For Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) information, visit the CDC's Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation page.

Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on April 6, 2020