Volume 13, Number 1—January 2007
Epidemics after Natural Disasters
|• Mass management of dead bodies is often based on the false belief that they represent an epidemic hazard if not buried or burned immediately.|
|• Burial is preferable to cremation in mass casualty situations.|
|• Every effort should be made to identify the bodies. Mass burial should be avoided if at all possible.|
|• Families should have the opportunity (and access to materials) to conduct culturally appropriate funerals and burials according to social custom.|
|• Where existing facilities such as graveyards or crematoria are inadequate, alternative locations or facilities should be provided.|
|• For workers routinely handling bodies, ensure|
|• Universal precautions for blood and body fluids|
|• Use and correct disposal of gloves|
|• Use of body bags if available|
|• Hand-washing with soap after handling bodies and before eating|
|• Disinfection of vehicles and equipment|
|• Bodies do not need disinfection before disposal (except in cases of cholera, shigellosis, or hemorrhagic fever)|
|• Bottom of any grave is >1.5 m above the water table, with a 0.7-m unsaturated zone|
*Adapted from Morgan (3).
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