- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A sterilization company on Friday agreed not to treat any waste potentially infected with Ebola at a St. Louis facility after the state attorney general sought a temporary restraining order, alleging that the company had previously violated waste-management laws.

A St. Louis Circuit Court approved the deal between Stericycle Inc. and Attorney General Chris Koster’s office. Earlier Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the state now can test for suspected cases of the virus in a Jefferson City lab.

Illinois-based Stericycle received a federal permit earlier this month to remove waste from the Texas hospital and home where a man with Ebola stayed before he died.

In his filing seeking the temporary restraining order, Koster said that treating potentially infected waste would pose a threat to workers. The company previously violated waste-management laws by failing to properly test and operate its equipment or track infectious materials, the filing said.

“A facility that failed to appropriately handle ordinary medical waste should not be trusted to handle the Ebola virus,” Koster said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the company said the north St. Louis center will not, and has not, accepted any waste contaminated with the Ebola virus.

“At present, each Ebola waste-generating incident is being handled on a case-by-case basis with primary emphasis placed on protecting the general public, health care workers, and our team members,” Stericycle spokeswoman Jennifer Koenig said in a written statement.

The company said it will work with Missouri hospitals to find other ways to dispose of waste if there is a suspected or confirmed Ebola case in the state.

Earlier in Jefferson City, Nixon announced that the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory there now can check potential Ebola samples before a confirmation testing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governor asked the state Department of Health and Senior Services to apply to the federal government for the designation earlier this month.

Nixon said the lab is one of about 20 in the country with that permission.

There are no reported cases of Ebola in Missouri. If there is a case, Nixon said testing at the lab could speed health providers’ response time.

“We stand ready to respond to suspected cases of Ebola should one ever occur in Missouri,” Nixon said while visiting the lab. “This designation will give us the ability to quickly assist health professionals by performing the presumptive test here.”

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