Infectious Substances Class 6.2
Thomas Eric Duncan arrived in the United States from Liberia, Africa. On September 30, 2014, the Center for Disease Control confirmed Mr. Duncan tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. It is the first time in the United States a patient has been diagnosed with the disease.
The Director for the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden, adamantly and publicly proclaimed, no worries – we got this. There’s no way, Ebola can spread in the United States and become an epidemic. He also went out of his way explaining the disease was hard to get. That the health care system in the United States was ready, prepared with protocols in place. And then, it happened. Two nurses who treated Mr. Duncan also contracted the disease. Wait a minute, the Director of the CDC just told us, it was hard to get this disease. Everything was in order. It can’t happen here. Fear. One of the infected nurses even traveled by airplane from Dallas to Cleveland and back, coming in contact with hundreds of people. More fear.
So how did these health care workers become infected? And if they did, what’s up with the protocol? And if the protocol didn’t work, what’s happening with the contaminated waste, materials, and belongings of Mr. Duncan and now the nurses? Is there a protocol for transporting the infected materials? Authorities in Dallas struggled to find a cleaning crew to clean and remove the infected items from Mr. Duncan’s apartment. Then once the items were removed, it became apparent there were no companies authorized to transport the Class A Medical Waste.
Every major city and every state then reviewed it’s own processes by which to transport Ebola contaminated materials. It got to the point on October 30, 2014, that the Federal Government issued a Safety Advisory Bulletin titled, Packaging and Handling Ebola Virus Contaminated Infectious Waste for Transportation to Disposal Sites. The Advisory Bulletin says, “To ensure their safe transportation, the Ebola contaminated materials must be packaged in conformity with the applicable requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations for Category A Infectious Substances.”
Category A Infectious Substances have been transported forever in the United States and worldwide. The regulations are stringent and practical. They work. Nobody has ever been infected from Infectious Substances while they were being transported. And there are thousands of these shipments of live viruses, some of them purposely injected into animals, every day.
Classification is clear. If the material is known or expected to contain these aliens (called pathogens) which are harmful to humans or animals, it must be classified as a Category A Infectious Substance. We also have Category B, which is called, Biological Substance which is an infectious substance but doesn’t make the “A” list. There’s also, Diagnostic Specimens, Biological Products, Genetically Modified Organisms, Medical Wastes, and Patient Specimens.
If you’re going to handle, prepare, package, complete documentation, or in any other way, ship, transport, or cause to be transported any of these unwelcomed creatures, you must be trained.
The requirements for transporting these deadly diseases are phenomenal and proven. Marking, Labeling, Packaging, and Documentation are all included in DGI’s Training curriculum and just like the DOT’s Advisory Bulletin, DGI’s Training meets all of the “applicable requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations for Category A Infectious Substances.” The training is available online here at www.dgitraining.com
I could go on about Governors Jindal, Christie, and LePage promulgating the fear of Ebola or Mexico denying Carnival Cruise Lines to dock in Cozumel because one of the four thousand passengers also cared for Mr. Duncan – But I won’t.