Coronavirus May Have Spread From Corpse: Report

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A forensic medicine professional who died of coronaviruses in Thailand is the first person reported to catch COVID-19 on a corpse, according to a report released Tuesday.

A letter published on March 20 in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine explained how a forensic pathologist working in Bangkok and a licensed practical nurse were the only two COVID-19 infections involving health professionals in Thailand at the time.

Won Sriwijitalai of the RVT Medical Center in Bangkok and Viroj Wiwanitkit of DY Patil University wrote in the letter that at the time most of the cases in Thailand were imported and that the spread in the local community was limited.

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Workers wearing personal protective equipment bury bodies in a trench on Hart Island on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in the Bronx district of New York. A deceased coronavirus forensic medicine professional in Thailand is said to be the first person reported to catch COVID-19 on a corpse. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Workers wearing personal protective equipment bury bodies in a trench on Hart Island on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in the Bronx neighborhood of New York. A deceased coronavirus forensic medicine professional in Thailand is said to be the first person reported to catch COVID-19 on a corpse. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

The letter adds that the two health professionals could “have contact with biological samples and corpses”.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on COVID-19 infection and death among medical personnel in a forensic unit,” the letter said, according to Newsweek.

Details of the age or name of the medical examiner and the nursing assistant were not included. The study added that there was no data on the number of dead bodies because it is not a common practice to examine COVID-19 in dead bodies.

“Nevertheless, infection control and universal precautions are necessary,” he said. “Forensic professionals must wear protective devices, including a protective suit, gloves, glasses, a cap and a mask. The disinfection procedure used in operating rooms can also be applied in pathology / forensic units. “

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously stated that “there is no evidence of people infected with exposure to the bodies of deceased COVID-19”.

However, the WHO added that if a person dies during the COVID-19 infectious period, the lungs and other organs may still contain a live virus.

“The safety and well-being of all those who care for the bodies should be the first priority,” the organization said. “Before going to a body, people need to make sure that the necessary hand hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) are available. “

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Reports of possible cadaveric infections occur after relatives of the deceased have been advised not to touch or kiss the bodies of their loved ones, which has had an impact on funeral or death rituals in countries around the world whole, reported NPR.

As of Tuesday morning, Thailand had more than 2,613 cases of COVID-19 and at least 40 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

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