In response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, many hospitals designated specific areas to care for patients with Ebola and other highly infectious diseases. The safe handling of category A infectious substances is a unique challenge in this environment. One solution is on-site waste treatment with a steam sterilizer or autoclave. The Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) installed two pass-through autoclaves in its biocontainment unit (BCU). The JHH BCU and The Johns Hopkins biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) clinical microbiology laboratory designed and validated waste-handling protocols with simulated patient trash to ensure adequate sterilization. The results of the validation process revealed that autoclave factory default settings are potentially ineffective for certain types of medical waste and highlighted the critical role of waste packaging in successful sterilization. The lessons learned from the JHH validation process can inform the design of waste management protocols to ensure effective treatment of highly infectious medical waste.
- Medical waste
- Serious communicable diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)