J Occup Environ Hyg. 2022 Mar;19(3):129-138. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2022.2027427. Epub 2022 Feb 16.
With the increasing number of highly infectious disease incidents, outbreaks, and pandemics in our society (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Lassa fever, coronavirus diseases), the need for consensus and best practices on highly infectious decedent management is critical. In January 2020, a workshop of subject matter experts from across the world convened to discuss highly infectious live patient transport and highly infectious decedent management best practices. This commentary focuses on the highly infectious decedent management component of the workshop. The absence of guidance or disparate guidance on highly infectious decedent management can increase occupational safety and health risks for death care sector workers. To address this issue, the authorship presents these consensus recommendations on best practices in highly infectious decedent management, including discussion of what is considered a highly infectious decedent; scalability and storage for casualty events; integration of key stakeholders; infection control and facility considerations; transport; care and autopsy; psychological, ethical, and cultural considerations as well as multi-national care perspectives. These consensus recommendations are not intended to be exhaustive but rather to underscore this overlooked area and serve as a starting point for much-needed conversations.