"Victims of natural disasters usually die from trauma and are unlikely to have acute or 'epidemic-causing' infections. This indicates that the risk that dead bodies pose for the public is extremely small. However, persons who are involved in close contact with the dead-such as military personnel, rescue workers, volunteers, and others-may be exposed to chronic infectious hazards, including hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV, enteric pathogens, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Suitable precautions for these persons include training, use of body bags and disposable gloves, good hygiene practice, and vaccination for hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Disposal of bodies should respect local custom and practice where possible. When there are large numbers of victims, burial is likely to be the most appropriate method of disposal. There is little evidence of microbiological contamination of groundwater from burial."
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Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS)
Pan American Journal of Public Health (2004) v.15 no.5