Review: The safe handling of a corpse (suspected) with COVID-19

L.G.M. Dijkhuizen*, H.T. Gelderman, W.L.J.M. Duijst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Introduction: Countries around the world are confronted with a rising count of patients that die from COVID-19. Up to this date, there is no scientific evidence that proves that a COVID-19 corpse is still infectious. Different guidelines are being followed worldwide on how to deal with a COVID-19 positive corpse. The aim of this review is to compare different guidelines and literature on best practice for handling a COVID-19 positive corpse.Results: The guidelines vary greatly in the use of PPE's and other safety measures especially during autopsy. There is great variation in the use of disinfectant and its concentration. Also recommended funeral services and contact with relatives vary greatly.Conclusion: In conclusion, there is very limited scientific evidence on which the researched guidelines are based. It is unclear why some guidelines propose a "business as usual" attitude and others a "code-red" attitude. More scientific evidence is needed to substantiate the handling of COVID-19 positive corpses to make an educated decision on how to safely handle a COVID-19 positive corpse.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101999
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • after death
  • cause of death
  • corona
  • coronavirus
  • covid-19
  • death
  • forensic medicine
  • infectious
  • infectious disease
  • new coronavirus
  • post mortal
  • post-mortal
  • postmortem
  • sars-cov-2
  • Post mortal
  • New coronavirus
  • Infectious disease
  • Infectious
  • Corona
  • Post-mortal
  • Covid-19
  • Postmortem
  • Forensic medicine
  • Cause of death
  • Sars-Cov-2
  • After death
  • Coronavirus
  • Death

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