Judge blocks disposal of Ebola victim’s burned belongings in Louisiana
A Louisiana judge temporarily blocked the transport of burned items linked to a Texas Ebola victim who died last week.
District Judge Bob Downing issued the injunction Monday afternoon after state Atty. Gen. Buddy Caldwell requested a temporary order to keep the incinerated items out of Louisiana.
In a statement late Sunday, Caldwell cited reports that “six truckloads” of items from the Texas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan was staying were set to be dumped at a Louisiana landfill after being burned at a Veolia Environmental Services plant in Port Arthur, Texas. Duncan fell ill with Ebola in Texas and died Wednesday.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that incinerated Ebola-associated waste is no longer infectious.
“There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines,” Caldwell said in a statement. “This situation is certainly unprecedented and we want to approach it with the utmost caution. We just can’t afford to take any risks when it comes to this deadly virus.”
Downing said in his ruling that Texas’ private contractors handling the waste must apply for applicable permits and provide Louisiana state officials with documentation showing that the waste is not infectious. The Louisiana landfill where the waste was headed was ordered not to accept it.
The order also commanded Veolia Environmental Services to provide a list of other hazardous waste sites it might have contracts with in Texas.
A call seeking comment from Veolia was not returned.
Duncan arrived sick at Dallas’ Texas Presbyterian Hospital on Sept. 25 and was sent home with antibiotics. He then returned to the hospital Sept. 28 and remained there until his death.
On Sunday, the CDC confirmed that a healthcare worker who treated Duncan had contracted Ebola.
The worker, whom officials have not identified, was in isolation Sunday in the intensive care unit of the Dallas hospital.
Times staff writer Ryan Parker contributed to this report.
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