Kozhikode: Prominent Forensic Surgeon Dr. Shirley Vasu has said that dead bodies cannot transmit Covid-19. Several places have witnessed panic caused by Covid-19 deaths and resistance against the burial of victims.
The resistance is due to fear of disease transmission from the dead bodies. The pathogen can spread only in living cells. The cells will be alive only for six hours after death. Hence, the possibility of transmission is zero after the said duration. The veteran surgeon also said that the virus may transmit only if it is present in the robes of the deceased.
The burial of the dead bodies should be as per the protocol. If the cadavers are buried at a depth of 10 feet, dogs or other stray animals cannot dig them out. The relatives are not given the dead bodies fearing the possibility of insufficient disinfection. The protocol is still advised in order to curb the spread of the disease.
Some cadavers may have discharge of fluid through their nose or mouth. The nasal discharges can be curbed by stuffing cottons. However, oral discharge carries risk of infection and should be taken care of.
Mortuary labourers are the most suitable hands to handle the dead bodies. Their experience acquired through handling dead bodies of viral diseases will be advantageous. They can handle the cadavers with low chances of spreading the disease.
Post-mortem on the dead body of a virus disease should be done only after 24 hours. That duration is required for the termination of the pathogens. However, this protocol is not followed in our state.
Post-mortem of the cadavers of Covid 19 or other viral diseases should be conducted in Level III mortuaries. There are no such mortuaries in Kerala.
Dr. Shirley Vasu said that a virtual autopsy facility or Level III mortuary should be in place at Kozhikode, Thirssur and Thiruvananthapuram.