The first case of a dead body transmitting the coronavirus to a medical examiner was reported by scientists in Thailand, a discovery that has prompted concerns that those handling coronavirus victims might be at risk of infection, BuzzFeed News reported on Monday.
“This is the first report on COVID-19 infection and death among medical personnel in a Forensic Medicine unit,” the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine Study announced on Sunday.
“The disinfection procedure used in operation rooms might be applied in pathology/forensic units too,” wrote Won Sriwijitalai of the RVT Medical Center in Bangkok and Viroj Wiwanitkit of Hainan Medical University in China.
There is a lack of knowledge about whether corpses can infect others with the novel coronavirus, however the finding in Thailand has reaffirmed advice from health experts that people handling the bodies of those who have succumbed to the virus, including morgue and funeral home workers, should use safety precautions, according to BuzzFeed.
“Anyone coming into contact with a COVID19 positive body, alive or dead, should be using personal protective equipment to prevent exposure,” said Summer Johnson McGee, health policy expert at the University of New Haven. “Autopsies and subsequent investigations present real risks for coroners to acquire COVID-19,” McGee told BuzzFeed.