Dead body management in the context of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Interim recommendations, 7 April 2020
Pan American Health Organization
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Objective: • To provide recommendations on the management of dead bodies in the context of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in healthcare facilities. These recommendations are preliminary and subject to review as new evidence becomes available.* Key considerations: • In December 2019 a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was identified as the causative agent of a severe acute respiratory illness (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. The virus spread to different countries and WHO declare a pandemic on March 11, 2020. • There are still some uncertainties in the natural history of the COVID-19, including source(s), transmissibility mechanisms, viral shedding, and persistency of the virus in the environment. Human-to-human transmission has been documented, with incubation period from 2 to 14 days. • Transmission of infectious diseases associated with management of dead body can occur and can be exacerbated by non-compliance to standard and transmission-based precautions, especially in healthcare settings. Aerosol-generating procedures (AGP)† have a role in the spread of the disease , as well as contaminated hands of healthcare providers, surfaces and fomites. • Assess the risk during the mortuary care process and provide adequate explanation to the family, respecting the cultural context of the local community. If indicated, provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to the family, with instruction in its use. Manage each situation on a case-by-case basis, balancing the rights of the family with the risks of exposure to infection...