This tip is taken from the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov.  Download PDF version formatted for print PDF document (81 KB/2 pages)

Safe Handling of Human Remains of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Patients: Interim Domestic Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization have received reports of patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from Canada, China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The most current definition can be accessed at http://www.cdcgov/ncidod/sars/casedefinition.htm.

Interim recommendations for infection control precautions for patient care can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/ic.htm and include Standard, Contact, and Airborne precautions (1).

All postmortem procedures require adherence to standard precautions with use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and facilities with appropriate safety features. Mechanical devices used during autopsies can efficiently generate fine aerosols that may contain infectious organisms. Thus, PPE should include both protective garments and respiratory protection as outlined below.

Personal protective equipment

For autopsies and postmortem assessment of SARS cases, PPE should include:

Autopsy procedures

For autopsies and postmortem assessment of SARS cases, safety procedures should include:

Engineering strategies and facility design


1. Garner JS. Guideline for isolation precautions in hospitals. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1996; 17:53-80.


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