nurses ebola protest

Nurses protest along Las Vegas Boulevard Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014
Hundreds of nurses have staged a protest rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, warning that US hospitals aren't ready for an Ebola outbreak and demanding more action by authorities against a possible epidemic in the US.

About 1,000 nurses and healthcare workers attended the Planet Nurse convention on Wednesday, chanting slogans to raise awareness about the increasing danger and death from Ebola.

The protesters highlighted the lack of training, equipment and isolation rooms where suspected Ebola-infected patients in the US could be quarantined. They also took part in what they called a "die-in" by laying on the ground in imitation of dying Ebola victims.

Ebola "can easily come to our shores, and we're not ready," said Julia Scott, a registered nurse from Largo Medical Center in Florida who was attending the rally.

The rally included a moment of silence for international health workers who have died while caring for Ebola patients in West Africa. "It's not acceptable that these people are dying," RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, told her fellow protesters. "It is going to come here," she said.

Four Americans have been or are being treated for Ebola in the US after contracting the virus in West Africa.

Biosafety experts say US hospitals do not have the means to properly dispose of medical waste contaminated with Ebola, which will jeopardize the safety of communities.

According to infectious disease experts, waste management companies are refusing to take any soiled sheets or protective gear that might be contaminated with the virus, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The waste companies have cited US federal guidelines that require Ebola-related waste to be handled in special packaging by people with hazardous materials training.