Ebola Protective Suits Are In Short Supply

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

JACKIE NORTHAM: For one month earlier this fall, Dr. Massoud Javadi spent many hours of the day wearing head-to-toe protective gear, or PPE. The Houston doctor was in Foya, a small town in northern Liberia. He worked at a clinic set up by Doctors Without Borders. Javadi was surrounded by more than a hundred Ebola patients, but he says he wasn’t worried.

MASSOUD JAVADI: When you’re in the isolation unit in your PPE outfit, that’s pretty much the safest place to be. You’re surrounded by people, but you have maximum protection on.

NORTHAM: You can buy a full protective outfit for as cheap as $15 online. But Doctors Without Borders uses a higher-quality PPE, costing about $75 apiece. Javadi says they are thick and unwieldy and particularly tough in the extreme heat.

JAVADI: After about 30 or 40 minutes, your goggles have fogged up; your socks are completely drenched in sweat. You’re just walking in water in your boots. And at that point, you have to exit for your own safety.

NORTHAM: Javadi says many people – doctors, nurses, people recovering the dead – wear the PPEs and that his clinic occasionally ran low on stocks. More had to be brought in from other centers. He says the apron and boots can be disinfected and reused. Everything else must be destroyed.

Source: NPR (link opens in a new window)

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