Toxic mess: Agencies at odds over Ebola-waste disposal

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person of Ebola victim died on 10th October. Ebola.  The Ebola virus is transmitted through contact with an infected patient’s blood or body fluids, such as urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit or semen. Ebola also can be spread through contract with objects such as needles and syringes. The problem of the disposal of the belongings of Duncan raised a number of concerns.

Agencies like the Centres for disease Control and prevention guide line say that Ebola related waste which has been burnt is no longer infectious, but still the judge says that there is not much knowledge known about this and hence he refused the belongings of Duncan to cross the state. Even the health workers are uncertain of the effectiveness and method of dealing with Ebola waste.

The chairman of the Centre of disease control tried to convince the public that all hospitals in US are capable of treating Ebola patients, but the question of how to handle the contaminated Ebola waste is raising fingers. The workers of the control centre have no solution on what to do with the large amount of Ebola patient’s waste.

How to transport the ebola waste?

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The CDC suggests that this waste should be kept in special containers and then sent to licensed hazardous companies where it is to be burnt or chemically sterilized.This dangerous and potentially deadly problem becomes messier at this time of transportation. The US department of transport refuses to accept Ebola contaminated waste until it is properly packed according to their guidelines.

It has been suggested that if the hospital has incinerators or large sterilizers called autoclaves, the decontamination of the waste should be done in the hospital. Some US hospitals are equipped with autoclaves that are needed to handle the Ebola waste safely

The medical waste companies refuse to pick this waste because of the regulations from the Department of transportation.Center for Disease control consider that the Ebola waste can be handled by the medical companies.

Views from control of disease center (CDC)

Ebola waste is classified as a category an infectious waste by the Department of Transportation (DOT) which means it is not just medical waste, it is capable of killing people. Control of Disease Center advises the hospital staff to treat Ebola waste in separateleak proof containers and discard them as other hospital waste.

Special permit

Dallas Hospital in US was asked to procure a permit before it could move the Ebola waste because of the conflicting different classification of Ebola waste by DOT and CDC. The permit was ultimately issued from DOT to the Texas Hospital where Thomas Eric Duncan was treated and died last Wednesday. This was a permit to transport the medical waste like vomit and stool for disposal. It is assumed that if there is another patient with Ebola, a permit would be easily and quickly issues from DOT.

A waste disposal facility in Louisian are fused to accept the ashes that generated when Duncan’s belongings were burnt, until the state officials agree that it will not pose any threat to the citizens.

Scientists admit that the Ebola virus is not effective in the environment and burning and chemical treatment is enough to get rid of the risk of spreading Ebola. They are very comfortable in the disposal of Ebola waste by incineration

A Louisiana judge, Caldwell raised a concern that the ashes could lead to problem for the people of the city.  He moved to court to stop the transport of Ebola waste from Texas He wrote in his petition that Louisiana has no opportunity to verify and confirm the safety of the Ebola medical waste. The ored requires the companies involved to give information about the method to handle this waste.

The order remains in place until Oct. 22 till the hearing of the case in Downing