As the recent Coronavirus outbreak has shown us having a robust biosecurity waste management system in place is essential and will save lives.
Throughout the years we have delivered clinical incinerators and support to some of the world’s largest international aid agencies in times of emergencies to help reduce the impact of viral outbreaks.
The Coronavirus is not a unique situation, it is just this years danger. Each year we are seeing an increase in the number of viral outbreaks and every year the news latches on and declares another potential Pandemic, this does not mean that Coronavirus is the only risk out there.
As the words Pandemic being thrown about it is important to have an understanding of what the real risks are and what can be done to reduce your risks.
An Endemic outbreak:
The most common viral outbreaks you will find are ‘Endemic’ and as such primarily affect the local population. These are defined as diseases that are constantly present within a region or population and maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area.
Examples of an Endemic Disease:
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Typhoid Fever
When a virus extends across a larger region it becomes an epidemic.
An Epidemic outbreak
Once a disease begins to spread across multiple communities at the same time then it becomes recognised as an Epidemic. There are many reasons why these spread. One is through poor site biosecurity and waste disposal allowing an increasing size of the population to come into contact with the virus before traveling.
Recent outbreaks of the Zika virus and Ebola are perfect examples of this kind of infection. However, due to the implementation of rapid biosecurity measures including the use of medical incinerators to destroy the virus, these were controlled and localised.
Examples of recent Epidemic Diseases:
- Zika Virus
- Typhoid Fever
- MERS-Cov (The Coronavirus)
As you can see an Endemic disease can become an Epidemic as it spread geographically.
A Pandemic outbreak:
When a virus becomes truly worrying is when it reaches Pandemic levels. Once an Epidemic has spread across a large region, multiple continents or in the worst-case scenario worldwide. This can lead to a truly devastating situation such as the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918 estimated to have infected 500 million people, which was a third of the world's population and been responsible for the death of up to 50 million.
However most modern pandemics although able to spread faster due to an increased global population and transportation options have not had the same impact. Catastrophic Pandemics have often been avoided through rapid biosecurity measures, quarantine and the sharing of information and resources globally. Will the Coronavirus join the following list only time will tell.
Examples of catastrophic Pandemic diseases:
- HIV/Aids (Peaked 2005-2012)
- Influenza (Peaked 1968)
- Spanish/Asian Flu (Peaked 1918)
- Cholera (Peaked 1910-1911)
- The Black Death (Peaked 1346-1353)
As you can see compared to Endemic and Epidemic diseases we are much more aware of the risks of a Pandemic and as such have the measures in place to maintain biosecurity. This proactive approach helps to prevent the conversion into a global disaster.
How does Biosecurity Help prevent Coronavirus?
If we use the Coronavius as an example of how a disease can rapidly spread from an Endemic disease into a Pandemic infecting people globally in just a matter of weeks after being discovered. In the early days as the disease was initially being contained images were shown on the news of medical clothing and personal protective equipment just discarded on the street after being used to clean the initial site of infection. This enables the virus to stay in the environment and spread.
The disposal of infected waste is one of the major causes of the spread of a virus and throughout the past decade we have been called upon by international aid agencies to support their work in preventing the spread of diseases such as Ebola and the Zika virus.
In several instances when our team has arrived onsite to install and commission the machines we have seen previous attempts to dispose of waste to have included, outdated equipment, hazardous waste being burnt in an open fire and simply being dumped on common ground all are perfect ways to increase the spread of infectious diseases.
Preparation is always the key to being able to contain and treat any Endemic disease before it can become a Pandemic. We are continuing to work with organisations supplying a growing range of medical waste incinerators that are able to neutralise all infections waste, from infected materials, PPE, Syringes, through to Infected Organic Compounds.
It is essential that they are not just burned uncontrollably, the process needs to reach sufficient temperatures to ensure complete destruction of the virus preventing any further risks of airborne infection.
All Addfield Incinerators benefit from a primary chamber that achieves temperatures of 850°C which is more than sufficient to fully neutralise even the most aggressive bacteria followed by a secondary chamber which achieves an even greater 1100°C releasing only clean and safe gasses back into the environment.
We are very proud of the beneficial impact that our machines have had across the world and our team has become genuine experts in biosecurity if you have any questions on managing medical waste contact us or read on for further information.