SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Ebola patients treated in the United States create a staggering amount of medical waste, and some states aren’t sure how to deal with it.
Each Ebola patient generate an average of eight 55-gallon barrels of medical waste per day, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Pieces of protective gear from gloves and gowns to medical instruments, bed sheets, and even mattresses have to be disposed once they’ve been exposed to the pathogen.
The recommended method for destroying the waste from Ebola patients is incineration, but California’s last medical waste incinerator closed in 2001, and it is illegal in some other states.
California’s department of public health states that if onsite treatment of Ebola medical waste by steam sterilization is not available, facilities can package the waste and transport it to an out of state facility for incineration. Alabama, Maryland, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Texas currently have operating incinerators.