Is a Dead Body Dangerous?
If a body has not been contagious in life then it will not be contagious
after death. Both the Centers for Disease control and the World Health
Organization, after extensive research, have concluded that dead bodies do
not pose a health risk to the living. In only rare circumstances might it be
possible and even then a prolonged exchange of bodily fluids must occur.
As the Los Angeles Medical Examiner has stated, “Riding on an
airplane or a public bus may be a public health risk, the presence of an
un-embalmed body is not.”
Dead Bodies and Disease: the “Danger” That Doesn’t
- ”We have not at any point prescribed embalming as a method of
protecting public health”. — Bernadette Burden, spokeswoman for
- ”The microorganisms that are involved in decomposition are not the
kind that cause disease. And most viruses and bacteria that do cause disease
cannot survive more than a few hours in a dead body.” —
Perspectives in Health, a publication of PAHO, a division of the World
- ”There is no reason that an un-embalmed human body should be
infectious to anyone attending visitation or public services. Persons
transporting and handling bodies or cutting into them may be vulnerable in
rare instances, with little or no risk if proper precautions are taken. To
refuse to present a body un-embalmed because of public health risk is
unfounded. Riding on an airplane or a bus may be a public health risk, the
presence of an un-embalmed body is not.” — Dr. L.
Sathyavagiswaran, M.D. Chief Medical Examiner of Los Angeles