Texas Ebola: New Concerns Arise Over Disposal Of Bodily Fluids

New concerns have surfaced in the Texas Ebola case. Thomas Eric Duncan reportedly vomited extensively outside of his relative’s apartment before being rushed to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The question of “who cleaned up the puke” of the Liberian national who had contracted the deadly virus was voiced by concerned parties on Wednesday afternoon.

After a Reuters report about Texas Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, readers and ultimately journalists began asking who cleaned up the vomit, where was the potentially infectious material disposed of, and what sanitation efforts were utilized to clear the common area outside of the Ivy Apartments.

Neither the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has responded to questions about the disposal procedures of the Ebola patient’s vomit. Medical experts have maintained that Ebola is transmitted via contact with the bodily fluids of patients. Infectious fluids noted in CDC literature include saliva, feces, urine, blood, and vomit.

Local KTVT-TV News reports that both apartment security officers and police officers have been on the scene at the Ivy Apartments where the Dallas Ebola patient was staying. Approximately 20,000 people live in Five Points.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the CDC is “closely monitoring” the health of friends and family Thomas Eric Duncan came into contact with after arriving in Texas. The latest news alerts indicate that Duncan came into contact with approximately 100 people before being isolated in the hospital.

Dallas Department of Health representative Erikka Nereos said, “It’s a constant process of interviews and locating as many contacts as are out there. We expect daily that there could be more people added.”

Ebola safety protocol reportedly calls for any items a patient has come into contact with and bodily fluids to be either sterilized or incinerated before being disposed of. Sean Kaufman, the president of a biosafety firm in Atlanta, told Reuters that following such practices protects both those handling the materials but also ensures that the infected matter cannot be used for “nefarious purposes.”

Not all hospitals are able to deal with the proper sterilization of Ebola bodily fluids and patient belongings to the degree necessary, according to Reuters. Emory University Hospital in Atlanta had difficulty with waste disposal when patients with Ebola were transported to the medical facility last month.

“When Emory University Hospital in Atlanta was preparing to care for two U.S. missionaries infected with Ebola in West Africa in its high-security bio-containment unit, their waste hauler, Stericycle, initially refused to handle it. Bags of Ebola waste quickly began piling up until the hospital worked out the issues with the help of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration head Cynthia Quarterman said her agency is still working on clarifying “even further” what “appropriate” transportation safety protocols should be followed when handling infectious waste. Quarterman said a full set of guidelines to share in the coming days.

Since the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital did not understand that Thomas Duncan had Ebola when he first came to the hospital, the proper safety precautions when interacting with him, disposing of an bodily fluids, and disinfecting any item he came in contact with might not have been completed to Ebola protocol standards. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Canadian Public Health Agency briefly posted a notice stating that Ebola may be capable of airborne transmission.

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