As I understand it, quarantine is used to describe the isolation of the infected to prevent spread of infection. However, I'm looking for a word for the isolation of the healthy to avoid infection.

  • The question is based on a misunderstanding (a common misconception) of the term. The term is often erroneously used to mean medical isolation, which is "to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy." (WP, see below). So it works both ways. – Kris May 19 '16 at 14:03
  • Look here: Wikipedia, Quarantine*: "A quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of persons; it is a 'state of enforced isolation'.[1] This is often used in connection to disease and illness, such as those who may possibly have been exposed to a communicable disease.[2] ... The word comes from the Italian (seventeenth-century Venetian) quaranta, meaning forty, which is the number of days ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic.[4] " en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarantine – Kris May 19 '16 at 14:06

There's no single directly fitting antonym, however, there are a few options to convey your meaning:

  • Reverse quarantine - this uses negation to create the meaning
  • Isolation - this conveys the general meaning, and can be used in a medical context
  • Protective sequestration - this fits best with your intended meaning, "isolating a still-healthy population to prevent diesease from spreading to it"



  • Protective sequestration seems to be a very good fit for what I'm looking for, many thanks :) – coldfusion2142 May 19 '16 at 10:40
  • 1
    Isolation and sequestration are synonyms for quarantine itself. – NVZ May 19 '16 at 10:52
  • That term was invented to distinguish from a specific use of quarantine -- The term “protective sequestration” avoids the use of the word quarantine, which, in public health, refers to the voluntary or enforced detention of a person who, because of actual or possible contact with a person carrying an infectious agent, may have acquired that agent and be capable of passing it along to others. (ibid.) – Kris May 19 '16 at 14:09
  • Also @NVZ According to dictionaries, protective sequestration is a type of quarantine. It's a hyponym, definitely not an opposite term. – Kris May 19 '16 at 14:13

When the infected are quarantined, the healthy are insulated.

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