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Fire department plans special ambulances to handle highly infectious disease cases

Staff Report

Amid increasing threats of infectious viruses such as Ebola and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the Tokyo Fire Department is planning to introduce specially designed ambulances to deliver patients with such diseases, NHK reported Friday.

The Tokyo Fire Department will be the nation’s first to have the ambulances, which are designed to avoid the viruses from leaking outside by lowering the pressure of the space where patients are kept. The vehicles will also be equipped with a device to generate ozone gas to de-activate viruses, according to the report.

A highly air-tight partition will divide the driver’s seat from the space for patients, the report said.

Currently, patients of infectious diseases are taken to hospitals by public health centers’ vehicles. They are placed in capsules for certain diseases, which means they cannot receive any treatment while they are being transported. But the new vehicle will enable doctors to treat patients on the way to hospitals with less risk of spreading viruses, the report said.

The Tokyo Fire Department reportedly plans to introduce two such vehicles in fiscal 2015 and further strengthen measures to prevent infections, it said.

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