The fears of health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo were confirmed recently, when test results indicated that an Ebola outbreak had been identified amongst the population once again.
Unfortunately, this marks the third time the DR Congo has experienced an Ebola outbreak since the devastating virus struck West Africa between 2014 and 2016, killing over 11,000 people.
But, despite 45 cases currently being investigated, officials are confident that with quick responses and the right equipment, the outbreak can be contained – as they have shown previously.
Medical waste incinerators play an essential role in this respect.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a highly dangerous virus that’s extremely contagious. It starts with flu-like symptoms, but this quickly advances to cause internal bleeding, with patients passing blood through their eyes, ears, mouth and nose. Diarrhoea and vomiting is common too.
Ebola can often be fatal, as the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia showed. It’s named after the Ebola river, where the virus was first identified in the 1970’s.
There are several different strains of Ebola, so making a vaccine is not easy. Ebola Zaire is the deadliest. There is one vaccine currently in production and ready to use; although it’s not officially been approved, its use is recommended and it has proven to be effective.
Ebola is thought to be carried by fruit bats, which explains why the virus can be so widespread. An outbreak could happen anywhere in Africa. It is often passed to humans via contaminated bushmeat – from monkeys, antelope and other animals.
Controlling Ebola On The Ground
Although high risk areas can be identified, it’s impossible to predict where an outbreak might occur, and once it does, Ebola can be easily passed amongst the local population.
Because Ebola can be transmitted via any kind of bodily fluid, it’s very easy to catch. Any saliva, blood or vomit could carry the virus and infect any who comes into contact with it.
The key is a quick response, to contain and control any outbreak as quickly as possible. And that requires the right medical equipment and hygiene procedures – to quarantine patients and prevent the virus from spreading.
The importance of incineration with infectious diseases like Ebola
As Ebola is so infectious, anything that comes into contact with the virus needs to be thoroughly decontaminated and disinfected, or else incinerated.
The WHO recommends that full, head-to-toe protective clothing should be worn at all times, and all non-essential items that are in the proximity of any potentially infected bodily fluids should be incinerated immediately. That includes all laundry and medical waste.
So to combat the spread of Ebola, governments and health organisations need to be able quickly access effective medical waste incinerators, to depose of all contaminated materials.
Given the power and strength of the virus, a variety of treatment methods is necessary – and everything used needs to be incinerated. That means incinerators must be capable of handling a wide variety of medical waste to be effective on the ground.
At Inciner8, we have extensive experience of what’s required to fight Ebola, working with teams during the 2014 West Africa outbreak to provide the very best medical waste incinerators.
Our range of models ensures that we can quickly provide a suitable incinerator for any type of outbreak, whether it’s small and compact for a rural region in DR Congo, or a large machine capable of dealing with vast amounts of waste at a centralised urban hospital.
Working together to eradicate Ebola
To beat Ebola requires a combined approach, with vaccines being developed, effective medical teams on the ground, and the very best, most efficient equipment to support them.
We are constantly focused on innovation with our medical waste incinerators, with safety of paramount importance. Our latest models include advanced AI technologies and remote support, so health workers can pre-programme combustion conditions to accurately destroy all traces of Ebola – without teams on the ground needing to worry.
In this way, we can hopefully minimise the risk of a large Ebola outbreak, and save lives.
Find out more about our incinerators and see how they can ensure your organisation can safely destroy any medical waste.