New York City, NY - October 24, 2014 - The MTA New York City Subway system is safe to ride. The person diagnosed with Ebola in New York City rode the subway several times since returning from abroad, but the state and city health commissioners agree there was no risk to any other subway customers or any MTA employees.
Ebola is spread only by contact with the bodily fluids of a contagious person, and the virus cannot live for more than a few hours on hard surfaces. There is no indication the patient was contagious when he rode the subway. There is no indication he emitted any bodily fluids on the subway. There were no reports of bodily fluids on any of the subway lines he rode.
The MTA has existing protocols for cleaning potentially infectious waste such as bodily fluids from anywhere in the mass transit network. They include isolating a bus, train car or subway car so no other customers can enter, providing personal protective equipment and training for employees who have to remove the waste, and ensuring it is disposed of safely.
Based on advice from health experts, the MTA has updated the protocols to ensure employees are issued nitrile gloves, use a 10% bleach solution for disinfection, and double-bag any potentially infectious waste. The MTA continues to consult closely with health officials and labor representatives to ensure its protocols for cleaning the subway system are based on the best practices for protecting employees and customers.