As public concern over a second U.S. health care worker’s contraction of Ebola grows and media coverage intensifies, the Department of Transportation has issued guidance on the transport of Ebola-tainted waste.
The department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration posted to its website last week that Ebola waste is classified as a Category A infectious substance, per hazmat regulations, and therefore requires several layers of packaging and a hard outer container that’s sealed appropriately.
PHMSA also issued a permit to Stericycle, an Illinois-based medical waste hauler, to allow for alternative packaging of the medical waste associated with the treatment of the U.S.’ “patient zero” — the infected man in Dallas who died earlier this month.
He had traveled to Dallas from West Africa, where he had been exposed to Ebola.
Stericycle transported the waste from cleanup from his apartment and the hospital where he was treated. Stericycle reportedly also handled waste hauling from an infected doctor in Atlanta.
The Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola this week, along with the other nurse who contracted the disease in Dallas, both contracted it from their care for the original Dallas patient.
The Ebola virus can only be transmitted via contact with body fluids of an infected patient or contact with infected waste. It is not transmitted through the air.