DIRECT ANSWER – NO (for normal population)
COVID-19 is completely a new disease with many unexplored facts. This has lead to a huge variety of myths and confusion surrounding it. As the time passes and more and more people getting infected, science is getting more datas to clear out the myths surrounding the disease.
One of them being- CORONA can spread by the dead person, and hence people tend to leave their dear ones unattented after death.
BUT NO, a dead can not ‘directly’ spread the disease.
CORONA virus is primarily spread through 2 ways-
1)Droplet (through mouth or nose)
2)fomite (virus present on non living objects)
Since the dead can not cough or remove nasal secreations so direct transmission is not possible.
The clothes and the objects with which the patient had contact before death still remain infective.
Care to be taken after death–
In most the cases, dead bodies generally do not transmit virus except in case of hemorrhagic fevers (such as ebola, marburg) and cholera.
The staff handling the dead body has to wear atleast gloves and maintain good hand hygeine during the complete process. If there are any body secretions present from the body such as urine or bleeding or anything such, then protective face shields along with PPE kit are highly recomended. Keeping the above points in mind the dead can be transfered to the required location after covering it in a body suit.
No special transport vehicle is required for shifting the patient.
Points to be taken care by family members–
Family members can have access to view face before biding farewell. But activities such as kissing, touching, washing body, clothe changes or similar should not be done.
It is a common myth that people who have died of communicable disease should be cremated. But cremation is a matter of cultural choice and available.
Also care to be taken that there are minimum people present during the process and social distancing is maintained along with proper face mask and hand hygeine.
Auto-immune people, new borns, people with age>60 year and people suffering from any co-morbidity or breathing issues are strictly prohibited from visiting the site.
The belongings of the patient such as watches, jewellary do not need to be burned or disposed off. But they should be handled after properly disinfecting them using detergent or a solution having atleast 70% alcohol or 0.1% bleech. Clothes and other fabrics must be machine washed or soaked using warm water (60-90degree celsius) and laundry detergent. These should be then allowed to dry in sunlight.
Care to be taken during autopsy–
After the death of corona patient the patient itself may not transmit the virus diretly but the lungs and other organs may still contain active virus which become a source of infection for the person performing autopsy and the support staff.
The personal perfroming autopsy of a confirmed or suspected should perform the complete procedure using a proper protective suit. Also if he/she is dealing with disection of lungs or area around it, personal protective kit and face shield are highly recomended.
Embalming is not recomended to avoid excessive manipulation of the body.
If you have any more myths or doubs regarding corona or any other medical problem feel free to comment that down in the comment section below. All your queries will be answered.
What do you think can a “Corona positive Mother” pass the virus to its child through Breast Feeding?
Check out more details here 👇
- Infection prevention and control for the safe management of a dead body in the COVID-19- WHO interim guidance book 24march 2020
- Breifing on COVID-19 autopsy practice relating to possible cases of COVID-19 – manual by Royal college of patologist
- How to conduct safe and dignified burial of a patient who has died from suspected or confirmed ebola or marburg virus disease -Interim guidance by WHO
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