Public Health Affairs and its Law vs. Ethics

Suppose you are advisor to the health officer in a medium-sized city in upstate New York that is experiencing an increase in syphilis and a rise in HIV infection among a particular population—men who have sex with men. The health officer is concerned that some of the fraternity and sorority houses at a local college in the health district have a higher incidence of both infections. Given the recent surge in infections, she believes that the affected fraternity and sorority houses should be closed and has asked whether a government official has the legal authority to do so; and, if so, whether this would be an ethically justifiable decision. Do you believe public health officials should have the authority to close sorority houses? If so, what should they do in this scenario and why?

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