For ordinary people, just hearing the terms like Ebola epidemic and fevers like Avian or Swine could cause a severe heart attack, for the images associated with these dreadful and contagious viral diseases, especially of a deadly contagious Ebola infected corpse, show the full horrors of an excruciatingly painful death.
There are many people around the world, especially in the African continent, who have had the misfortune to be the victims of such diseases. Some are the victims of a recent threat called bioterrorism, where these pathogens are weaponized. Whether they survive or not depends on the availability of state-of-the-art healthcare institutions that are equipped to tackle highly infectious diseases caused by any pathogen, be it a virus, bacteria or toxins. Such hospitals will require special areas called Quarantine Wings. But, today, mere quarantine is not enough as it only prevents the spread and does not facilitate diagnosis of the different strains of pathogens.
A Biocontainment Unit effectively addresses this need. It’s a special unit located in a separate area of a hospital designated as the treatment wing for highly infectious diseases. It’s still essentially a quarantined area, but it contains state-of-the-art facilities and equipment specially designed to diagnose and treat these life-threatening diseases.
The Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston has pioneered a new type of Biocontainment Unit, specially made for kids who have fallen prey to these deadly diseases. The facility contains eight beds, each having an antechamber, where doctors and nurses will put on protective gear like Bio-suits, gloves and ventilated hoods. After treating the child, they can strip the equipment off in another room. There are large glass windows through which these children can be observed by the doctors and nurses.The infected blood samples are safely tested in the unit’s own laboratory so that it never has to be carried to the other parts of the hospital.