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Natural disasters are complex, unexpected and in general, the severity and magnitude are expressive. They cause impacts
translated in material and human losses. There also could be an expansion of the risk through favorable conditions to the
spread of diseases. These conditions produce impacts on public health and environment.
Discuss the risks that the bodies may present.
The suddenly increase in the number of cadavers may cause fear of the outbreak of diseases, but there is no evidence
that it can enlarge the onset of disease risk. However, there are infectious agents that can be present in cadavers such as
, hepatitis B and C,
, HIV, hemorrhagic fever virus and prions, representing risks. Studies show an increase
in the incidence of diarrhea and respiratory diseases.
Universal precautions before handling biological material should be followed. Hygiene procedures, care to get sharp
devices and the use of protective equipment can reduce the occupational risk. The use of disposable protective wear over the
clothing, boots and gloves are recommended. Masks N95 should be used for respiratory protection against aerosolized biological
agents. Safety glasses or full face shields should be used for protection against impact of airborne particles, blood and body fluids.
All instruments and equipment, including stretchers and transport vehicles must be decontaminated. Corpses do not require
disinfection before handling (except in cases of cholera or hemorrhagic fever). It is recommended a vaccination program, to avoid
the high risk of infection caused by agents of hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis. The establishment of a education
program is part of the process of preparation and disaster mitigation.
Telma Abdalla de Oliveira Cardoso, Ph.D. in Public Health, graduated in Veterinary Medicine. She is the coordinator of the Biosafety Office of
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Ministry of Health, Brazil. Coordinator of the Doctoral and Master Degree in Biosafety of the Oswaldo Cruz
Foundation, Rio de Janeiro; of the Post-Graduation Course in Biosafety in Public Health Laboratory in National School of Public Health, Fiocruz.
Author/Co-author of more than 90 scientific published papers and more than 20 book chapters. Member of the board of editors of several scientific
Duarte Nuno Pessoa Vieira, Ph.D. Degree in Medical Sociology/Forensic Medicine, graduated in Medicine. He is the director of the National Institute
of Forensic Medicine of Portugal. Coordinator of the Master Degree in Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences of the University of Coimbra, of the
Post-Graduation Course in Clinical Forensic Medicine of the University of Coimbra. Author/Co-author of more than 300 scientific published papers
and more than 40 book chapters. Member of the international board of editors of several international scientific journals.
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