Validation of autoclave protocols for successful decontamination of category a medical waste generated from care of patients with serious communicable diseases

Brian T. Garibaldi, Mallory Reimers, Neysa Ernst, Gregory Bova, Elaine Nowakowski, James Bukowski, Brandon C. Ellis, Chris Smith, Lauren Sauer, Kim Dionne, Karen C. Carroll, Lisa L. Maragakis, Nicole M. Parrish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-551
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Autoclave
  • Ebola
  • Medical waste
  • Serious communicable diseases
  • Sterilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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