UPDATE - Managing Textiles exposed to Ebola HF
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] released an Interim Guidance for Environmental Infection Control in Hospitals for Ebola Virus late on August 20, 2014. This updated information provides, as promised, details related to textile care management as part of the care of patients who are persons under investigation, or with probable or confirmed Ebola virus infections.
Highlights on Textile Care Management
The most current guidance differs from the information provided earlier this month. Highlights impacting textile care management include:
• Studies indicate that Ebola virus can remain viable on solid surfaces, with concentrations falling
slowly over days
• No epidemiologic evidence of Ebola virus transmission via either the environment or fomites that
could become contaminated (e.g. bed rails, door knobs, laundry).
• Given the apparent low infectious dose, potential of high virus titers in the blood of ill patients,
and disease severity, high levels of precaution are warranted to reduce the potential risk posed
by contaminated surfaces in the patient care environment.
• Avoid contamination of reusable porous surfaces that cannot be made single use. Use only a
mattress & pillow with plastic or other covering that fluids cannot get through. Do not place
patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus infection in carpeted rooms and remove all
upholstered furniture and decorative curtains from patient rooms before use.
• To reduce exposure among staff to potentially contaminated textiles (cloth products) while
laundering, discard all linens, non-fluid-impermeable pillows or mattresses, and textile privacy
curtains as a regulated medical waste.
CDC Interim Guidance for Environmental Infection Control in Hospitals for Ebola Virus
State-by-State Regulated Medical Waste Resource Locator
EPA Search Engine for verification of product labeling use
Q & A from the CDC
Opportunity to ask Questions
ALM Sr. Vice President, Cindy Molko, RLLD, CLLM participated in a conference call August 22nd with the CDC as they address this topic further. ALM developed a list of questions to pose to gain clarity on a couple of matters find the Q & A answers here. If you have any questions or concerns regarding textile care management and Ebola please post to the forum below (members will need to login to post your questions) and we will do our best to get them addressed and provide response to our members.
Seeing Red is costly!
Placing blood-saturated reusable linen into red bags is a common practice. Common - but often wrong and quite costly.$ - Higher disposal cost for bio-hazardous waste disposal
$ - Loss of linen before the anticipated life-end of the textile
$ - Replacement cost for the textile
$ - Typical linen loss charges by laundry processor
ALM and the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA) recently sought to clarify the correct procedures for bagging heavily blood soaked (contaminated) textiles. The confusion seemed to arise from hospitals whose practice was to err on the side of caution and trained staff to dispose of contaminated linen as Red Bag waste.
The facts about the safety of healthcare linen services
Recent articles relating the death of five fragile pediatric patients in a Louisiana hospital to textiles at the facility has resulted in numerous questions about health care linens and their safety. ALM provides guidance on the mechanisms in place to prevent such future tragedy.
The following are provided regarding this issue:
- ALM responds on safety mechanisms in place for healthcare textile service
- Link to The New York Times article - April 28, 2014
- New Orleans Times Picayune article and editorial - April 23, 2014
- WVUE Fox 8 New Orleans article and video clip - April 21, 2014
- CDC information on Mucormycosis including outbreak in Joplin, MO following 2011 tornado
- Poster session from Presentation on Mucormycosis outbreak - 2012
"Through compliance with these practices and proper oversight by responsible parties, hygienically clean healthcare textiles will continue to provide a safe healing environment" said ALM President Randy Wendland, CLLM.
Textile Safety Forum