On September 3o, 2014 the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that a patient in Dallas is infected with the Ebola virus. This is the first case of the virus to be diagnosed on American soil.
While the CDC is has confidence in the medical community’s ability to keep the virus at bay in the United States, it also urges the funeral industry to be prepared should a fatality from the disease occur.
These recommendations give guidance on the safe handling of human remains that may contain Ebola virus and are for use by personnel who perform postmortem care in U.S. hospitals and mortuaries. In patients who die of Ebola virus infection, virus can be detected throughout the body. Ebola virus can be transmitted in postmortem care settings by laceration and puncture with contaminated instruments used during postmortem care, through direct handling of human remains without appropriate personal protective equipment, and through splashes of blood or other body fluids (e.g. urine, saliva, feces) to unprotected mucosa (e.g., eyes, nose, or mouth) which occur during postmortem care.
- Only personnel trained in handling infected human remains, and wearing PPE, should touch, or move, any Ebola-infected remains.
- Handling of human remains should be kept to a minimum.
- Autopsies on patients who die of Ebola should be avoided. If an autopsy is necessary, the state health department and CDC should be consulted regarding additional precautions.
Read the full guidelines: Guidance for Safe Handling of Human Remains of Ebola Patients in U. S. Hospitals and Mortuaries