17 February 2020

This briefing is for mortuary staff and pathologists who are potentially exposed to material including body fluids from cadavers in the mortuary.

This brief guidance has been produced by RCPath following the outbreak of the COVID-19 infection. It is produced to aid mortuary staff and pathologists in deciding if a post mortem is appropriate on a possible COVID-19 death and to advise them on the possible risks associated with such a case and how to reduce these risks. It also covers diagnosis of COVID-19 at post mortem.

In general, if a death is believed to be due to confirmed COVID-19 infection, there is unlikely to be any need for a post mortem to be conducted and the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death should be issued.

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