A chemical substance applied in Dubai ambulances minimises the chances of cross-infection with the Mers Coronavirus (Mers-CoV). The technique was recently introduced as a preventive measure in ambulances, in addition to another set of measures that were already in place.
As soon as the patient has been discharged from the ambulance, the substance is applied to all equipment, clothing and interior of the compartment. “If the virus [is present], it can be eradicated in 20 seconds,” explained Omer Ahmad Al Sakaf of the Medical and Technical Affairs Department of Dubai Ambulance.
“The substance minimises the chances of cross-infection of any kind of virus or bacteria. It does not, however, eradicate what has already evolved in the body. This is not a method to cure the Mers Coronavirus,” Al Sakaf clarified.
Following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), healthcare providers across the country put in place an infection control policy, which includes a number of measures that should be adopted when dealing with influenza-like illnesses (ILI).
Whereas symptomatic patients should be offered surgical masks, facial tissues and receptacles for their disposal, medical staff are equally subjected to precautionary measures.
Surgical masks should be worn when dealing with an ILI patient. When dealing with higher risk patients such as those with severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), medical staff should wear a different kind of mask (N95 mask), gowns, eye protection and non-sterile gloves, said the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) last year.
Dubai Ambulance is responsible for a patient as long as this patient is in the ambulance compartment, explains Al Sakaf. This may be in response to an emergency call, or the transportation from one healthcare facility to another.
“In the ambulance we always assume to be dealing with an infectious disease. We have the capacity to always apply the preventive measures required in case of an infectious disease.
“However, this is nothing new,” he adds. “We already applied these measures, but with the use of the chemical substance, we have increased our care. You could say that cross-infection can be avoided with a 99 per cent success rate, while it was 98 per cent before.”
The UAE Ministry of Health recently assured that person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters, and that there is no evidence that this virus has the capacity to sustain generalised transmission in communities.