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Ebola Isolation Wards - Decommissioned Cruise Ships

Suggestion: use decommissioned cruise ships as isolation and treatment wards. Many cruise chips have more than 1000 cabins each of which could serve a patient, with room for crew, supplies, etc. Hospital ships such as the USS Comfort also have north of 1000 beds. 3 or 4 such ships could accommodate the total population of diagnosed patients in Liberia at present.

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Photo of Rafael Hernandez

We an offer in-ship solutions for the handling of the cleaning, including decontamination via 3 ways (steam, UV light, chemical) as well as in-ship treatment for waste so it does never leave the ship without treatment. We can add it INSIDE the ship or right next to the ship so the waste can be still contained using containers or ducts into the secure facilities to be setup next to the ship at port. All our solutions are containerized and capable to be mobile and/or add ons.

Photo of Rik Ganju

Very interesting. One issue: how to decontaminate the ship after use, or while in use. With a operating room this is easy as all the walls/floors/equipment are designed to be cleanable even re-sterilizable in some cases. But a cruise ship with all its fabrics, carpets, wood floors and paneling, etc would need to be re-built more like a hospital room. In other words the interior design used to give a sense of luxury would be exactly the thing working against easy decontamination. The good news is this may be easy and affordable to do: just send the ship to a country with low labor costs and high quality standards

Photo of Adam Noily

Right. Carpets are an issue, though I'd imagine that removing them could be done very quickly and inexpensively. Wood would be more difficult, though probably not as much of an issue with respect to liquids.

Photo of Rik Ganju

I assure you from watching someone do this once: walk into an operating room or an fda regulated clean-room manufacturing facility with some wood, say a wooden ruler, and people will start freaking out. At the microscopic level wood - even seemingly smooth wood - is porous and one can't be sure whether or not it is decontaminated

Photo of Adam Noily

Excellent point on the wood. Probably would never pass as an FDA regulated clean room. Though, in all fairness, it is very likely that neither would any of the Ebola wards currently operating in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea.

Photo of Rik Ganju

I really like this ship idea. I think rip out all the fabrics and carpets, put HEPA filters in the air system, and spray all wood and painted surfaces with 5 coats of hard non-porous polymer....what more? that and you have a a 'good enough' room.

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Adam, the USNS Comfort has 1000 beds but only 500 usable beds and they will take weeks to months to be tasked to be in West Africa. Furthermore, this proved not to be the be all and end all in Haiti and the lessons learned were many. First, the military has to be tasked to do this by State or USAID, 2nd, they have to have the funds, third, how are you going to helo patients back and forth to the ship from remote areas. I would not recommend the Comfort.