Why the worry about Ebola in wastewater?
The current EPA guidelines say that Ebola-infected patient fluids are safe for disposal via wastewater systems. That means hospitals are disposing through the traditional systems, and therefore the virus may travel through the wastewater system.
What exactly is Ebola?
Ebola is an envelope virus. The incubation period (how long it lives in humans) may be anywhere between 2-21 days. The good thing about envelope viruses is that they do die.
How long do we have to worry about the Ebola virus staying alive in wastewater?
There is still research going on to determine exactly how long it lives in wastewater situations. No one has researched ebola persistence in wastewater specifically, so that is why there is conflicting information.
Whose most at risk?
Healthcare workers directly caring for Ebola-infected patients. Since the disease can only transmit after the onset of symptoms, there is good opportunity for people to be aware that they may be contagious and take appropriate preventative steps to not pass it on.
What are some practical tips for working with wastewater?
Basic personal protective equipment and hygiene practices will go a long way to alleviating the risk of Ebola.