2.6.2 Contaminated or potentially infectious materials for disposal

All positive TB cultures must be autoclaved before disposal. An autoclave should be available close to or in the laboratory where TB culture is performed.

All contaminated (that is, potentially infectious) materials except sharps should be placed in disposable plastic bags before being transported for incineration. If possible, materials from TB laboratories should not be discarded in a landfill even after decontamination.

Discard containers, or pans or jars that are unbreakable (for example, plastic), should be placed at every work station. Appropriate disinfectants effective against M. tuberculosis must be used; waste materials must remain in contact with the disinfectant (that is, they must not be protected by air bubbles) for the appropriate time, depending on the disinfectant used. Discard containers should be decontaminated and washed before reuse.

In laboratories where the risk of infection with TB is low, plastic sputum containers, cartridges used for molecular analysis (e.g. Xpert MTB/ RIF cartridges), and wooden applicator sticks should be removed from the laboratory in sealed disposal bags and incinerated.

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