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Center for Law and the Public’s Health


International Health Regulations –
Working Paper for Regional Consultations

This document is an interim draft of the proposed revisions to the WHO’s International Health Regulations. The purpose of the revised Regulations are to provide security against the international spread of disease while avoiding unnecessary interference with international traffic. The Regulations seek to establish a strong framework within which the WHO can work with states to respond to public health emergencies of international concern. The Regulations are comprised of 55 articles outlining the core terms and obligations of parties to the Regulations, as well as ten technical annexes.

International Health Regulations – Comments from the
Center for Law & the Public’s Health

International Health Regulations – Comments from David Fidler
Senior Faculty, Center for Law and the Public’s Health

WHO Consultation on Priority Public Health Interventions
Before and During an Influenza Pandemic

Following the recent avian influenza outbreaks in Asia, the WHO convened a consultation on influenza preparedness in anticipation of an influenza pandemic which it believes is “inevitable and possibly imminent,” and which could cause 2 million to 7.4 million deaths. Attended by over 100 experts from 33 countries, the group identified a range of measures, including three main objectives, which could be introduced before and during an influenza pandemic.

Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Control of
Infectious Diseases

The passing of the last century encouraged reflection on society’s achievements as the year 2000 approached. Reflecting on public health’s century of accomplishments, CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report devoted an ongoing series of articles to various health milestones. This issue discusses the eradication and control of infectious diseases that only 100 years ago were common, everyday killers.

  Ferguson v. City of Charleston.
Responding to an perceived increase in cocaine use among pregnant women, a task force developed a new policy under which pregnant women suspected of drug use were to receive urine screens. Under certain circumstances positive test results were shared with the police and the woman arrested and charged. In reviewing the policy, the Supreme Court considered whether the nonconsensual urine screens were unconstitutional searches and seizures or whether they could be justified under the Court’s ‘special needs’ doctrine.

  Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives’ Association.
A Federal Railroad Administration regulation required employees involved in railroad mishaps to undergo drug and alcohol testing. In this case, the Supreme Court held that such testing qualifies as a personal search for the purposes of Fourth Amendment analysis. However, not all Fourth Amendment searches require warrants. Should the testing of railroad workers fall into this category of exceptions? Should the government’s interest in railroad safety imply ‘special needs’?

  Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab
Before being assigned to certain sensitive positions, the Customs Service required candidates to submit to urinalysis. Although drug use was not considered a major problem at the agency, the Customs Service noted its “special responsibility to insure [a drug-free] workforce.” The Fifth Circuit considers this fact and evaluates the scope and justification for the regulation.

  McCarthy v. Boozman
An Arkansas state law required all children to be immunized for certain diseases and to present certification acknowledging immunization prior to being admitted to school. The law provided an exception for children whose parents who objected to immunization on grounds that it conflicted with the tenets of a “recognized church or religious denomination.” A federal district court ruled that although it is both constitutional to have immunization requirements and to offer religious exemptions to these requirements, Arkansas’s religious exemption was unconstitutional because it only applied to members of recognized churches. Those who held a religious objection but were not a member of a recognized church were not eligible for the exemption. Therefore, the exemption violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the 1st Amendment. The court invalidated the religious exemption, but allow the immunization requirement to remain in effect.

  Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Impact of Vaccines Universally Recommended for Children
In this installment of the CDC’s series of articles on 20th century public health accomplishments, MMWR discusses the remarkable decrease in childhood morbidity and mortality resulting from the adoption of universally recommended vaccination programs.


Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act
In April 2003, Congress passed this act to provide compensation and benefits to persons suffering injuries after receiving a smallpox vaccination. In addition to specifying eligibility and other parameters, the act provides that persons be screened for contraindications before vaccination and that a surveillance system for adverse health events be established.

  Brown v. Stone
Under the interim provisions of the "Brady bill" firearms control act, state and local law enforcement agencies are required to perform background checks on potential gun purchasers in certain circumstances. The petitioner objected, claiming that the Constitution forbids Congress from requiring state officials to carrying out federal laws. Does this provision of the law intrude on state sovereignty?

  National, State, and Urban Area Vaccination Coverage Levels among Children Aged 19-35 Months
To encourage states to confront the shortage of low-level radioactive waste disposal sites, Congress passed a law offering various incentives to states who comply with the statute. New York challenged the law, claiming that the Congress was commandeering powers reserved for the states. To what extent can Congress put pressure on states to comply with its policy objectives?


Zucht v. King
Rosalyn Zucht brought a suit against the City of San Antonio, Texas, challenging a city ordinance making certain vaccinations a mandatory requirement to attend public or private schools. The ordinance vested broad discretion in health authorities to determine when and under what circumstances the requirement should be enforced. The Supreme Court found the ordindance to be legitimate and within the broad discretion allowed under the police power for the protection of the public health.






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