London, January 20 (ANI): The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that bodies piling up in quake-hit Haiti pose a negligible infection risk to the public and do not need to be instantly buried or disinfected.
According to a report in New Scientist, the WHO says, "It is important to convey to all parties that corpses do not represent a public health threat. When death is due to the initial impact of the event and not because of disease, dead bodies have not been associated with outbreaks," it said.nstead, according to the WHO, relief workers should focus on treating the living.
In accompanying advice for relief workers on managing the dead, the Pan American Health Organization says that after natural disasters, it is survivors that are most likely to spread disease, as most people are killed through injury, drowning or fire.
"After most natural disasters, there is fear that dead bodies will cause epidemics. This belief is wrongly promoted by the media, as well as some medical and disaster professionals," it says.
The only slight disease risk is from diarrhoea if faeces leaking from corpses contaminate drinking water.
The report also warns that premature burial or disinfection can cause severe mental distress and potential legal problems for the bereaved. (ANI)