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Plague Transmission from Corpses and Carcasses

Jullien, Sophie, de Silva, Nipun Lakshitha and Garner, Paul ORCID: (2021) 'Plague Transmission from Corpses and Carcasses'. Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol 27, Issue 8, pp. 2033-2041.

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Knowing whether human corpses can transmit plague will inform policies for handling the bodies of those who have died of the disease. We analyzed the literature to evaluate risk for transmission of Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague, from human corpses and animal carcasses. Because we could not find direct evidence of transmission, we described a transmission pathway and assessed the potential for transmission at each step. We examined 3 potential sources of infection: body fluids of living plague patients, infected corpses and carcasses, and body fluids of infected corpses. We concluded that pneumonic plague can be transmitted by intensive handling of the corpse or carcass, presumably through the inhalation of respiratory droplets, and that bubonic plague can be transmitted by blood-to-blood contact with the body fluids of a corpse or carcass. These findings should inform precautions taken by those handling the bodies of persons or animals that died of plague.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 105 Epidemiology
WA Public Health > Mortuary Practice > WA 840 Mortuary practice
WC Communicable Diseases > Infection. Bacterial Infections > Other Bacterial Infections. Zoonotic Bacterial Infections > WC 350 Yersinia infections. Plague
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2021 11:00
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2021 11:00


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