Hearing about an Ebola case in the United States can cause panic, however, the risk of contracting the disease is very low.
Viruses such as Ebola or Lassa fever are classified as a Biosafety Level 4 by the Center for Disease Control because there are no known vaccines. Most hospital laboratories are equipped for Level 2 situations. However, so far this year nine individuals have contracted the Ebola virus with seven fully recovered.
Only five hospitals of the 5,000 in the United States have treated individuals diagnosed with Ebola. TRSA, an international textile services company, recommends a few safeguards when it comes to handling soiled linens.
The CDC, OSHA and the Department of Transportation all have specific guidelines for handling and transporting biohazardous waste and bloodborne pathogens, TRSA says.
The company noted government guidelines should be followed when dealing with Biohazard Level 4 viruses such as Ebola.
Linens that have been used on patients with infectious diseases should be autoclaved or incinerated, according to the CDC. TRSA also recommends using practices described in its Healthcare Service Operations Manual for cases not classified as Biohazard Level 4.
TRSA also offers its Hygienically Clean Certification, which focuses on best management practices for hospitals and other health and medical facilities.