FARGO, N.D. — California health officials have given notice that North Dakota is one of six states that could receive Ebola medical waste in the event the state has any material to incinerate.
In a notice posted last week, the California Department of Public Health listed North Dakota as one of six states where California sends medical waste to be incinerated when onsite disposal is not available at medical centers.
Healthcare Environmental Services Inc., located at an industrial park at 1420 40th St. N. in Fargo, operates a medical waste incinerator that also accepts waste from other locations.
Calls to Healthcare Environmental Services on Tuesday afternoon were not returned.
The company is owned by Sanford Health. A Sanford spokeswoman said it could not immediately comment on the possible incineration of Ebola waste from California at the Fargo facility.
So far, California has no known Ebola cases, according to the state health department, which spelled out its interim guidelines for safe handling of medical waste in an alert to providers and others.
In another development, public health officials are monitoring two North Dakota residents who recently returned from countries in West Africa that are battling the Ebola epidemic.
Neither of the two residents is running a temperature or showing any symptoms of an Ebola infection, which can include diarrhea, joint and muscle aches and abnormal bleeding.
“They’ve just recently traveled to the area,” said epidemiologist Michelle Feist of the North Dakota Health Department. “They pose no risk to the community.”
Health officials are not releasing information about where the two people reside.
Public health officials in Minnesota and South Dakota also are monitoring residents in those states who have recently visited Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone in West Africa, where an outbreak of Ebola has killed about 5,000.
State health officials are contacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when someone is entering the United States from those countries through five major international airports.
“We are doing monitoring,” said Sam Brungardt, a public information officer for the Minnesota Health Department.
On Monday, Minnesota health officials announced that they were monitoring one resident who had traveled to West Africa, but the list of people to monitor is growing.
“It has grown, and it will continue to grow as we get reports from the CDC,” Brungardt said. “There’s people who are returning from these three West African countries every day.”
So far, none of those being monitored for signs of fever with twice-daily temperature checks show any sign of infection, he said.
As a precaution, however, they will continue to be checked during the 21-day observation period, generally regarded as the incubation period for the Ebola virus.
South Dakota health officials also are monitoring someone who recently returned from West Africa, but is not showing symptoms.
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