WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Thai scientists believe they found the first instance of a human dying from the novel coronavirus after getting it from a corpse.
- Though it’s not yet determined how long the coronavirus remains in the body after death, a letter published by the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine gave information about a Thai worker.
- Public Health England has warned people that handling COVID-19 corpses is “likely to be a continuing risk of infection.”
According to recent reports from Thailand, scientists have identified the first case of a living person catching the coronavirus from a dead body.
BuzzFeed first reported the case involving a forensic medical examiner in Bangkok who was infected with the coronavirus. The case was described in a letter published during the weekend in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.
According to the authors, Won Sriwijitalai of Bangkok’s RVT Medical Center and Viroj Wiwanitkit of China’s Hainan Medical University, it’s unlikely the unidentified examiner caught the virus from a living human since there’s a limited community spread in the country.
“There is low chance of forensic medicine professionals coming into contact with infected patients, but they can have contact with biological samples and corpses,” the scientists said.
It’s not yet determined how long the virus remains in a dead body, but the latest discovery suggests that precautions should be taken when handling bodies during a pandemic, the authors warned.
“The disinfection procedure used in operation rooms might be applied in pathology/forensic units too,” wrote the authors.
“At present, there is no data on the exact number of COVID-19 contaminated corpses since it is not a routine practice to examine for COVID-19 in dead bodies in Thailand.”
Thailand, one of the first nations to identify the new pathogen, has only reported around 2,600 cases and 43 deaths.
Meanwhile, there have been nearly 2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, killing more than 124,000 people as of Tuesday afternoon, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Source: New York Post