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HIV+ corpses

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posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:11 AM
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Just a strange question that popped into my head. Was reading about the medical patients that have been displaced by Katrina. Noted another article about the numbers of affected HIV patients and another on how there are still bodies on the ground in N.O.

Just wondered about if a HIV patient died and is still lying there somewhere; Are they a biological bomb for anyone that comes near them? Would the HIV "dissipate" as the body... well, rots. Could body fluids leeching out into the water make the water even more dangerous? I know they have plenty of nasty diseases and bugs just by being dead for so long in those conditions, but just wondering if HIV is something that adds to that significantly?




posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:19 AM
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No.

It is my understanding that HIV has a very short "life span" outside of living tissue and fluids.



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:29 AM
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Question 3: How long does the virus survive in a corpse?

This question has relevance for those involved in burial practices e.g. bathing the body and touching the body while preparing it for burial. The risk does not only lie with the HIV virus but also with other opportunistic infections. A corpse, particularly of a person known to have been HIV infected, must be handled as if infectious. This would be irrespective of the duration of time since death. Any fluids or tissues should be handled utilising universal precautions - i.e.: with gloves. During autopsy, gloves and eye protections should be used at all times. As above - there is risk from infection beyond HIV. Most other pathogens are heartier and longer-lived than HIV. You would be concerned about hepatitis, and TB amongst many others.

www.hivan.org.za...



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:29 AM
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Thanks HowardRoark, thats pretty much what I was thinking but wanted to check as I wasn't sure.



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 02:25 AM
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HIV-2 Cultured From Blood 16 Days After Death

Lancet (05/22/93) Vol. 341, No. 8856, P. 1342 (Douceron, Herve)
People who have died of an AIDS-related condition can still have active virus living in their bodies several days after death, write Herve Douceron et al. of the Hopital Henri Mondor in Creteil, France. A West African patient with AIDS died from acute myelomonocytic leukemia in a hospital. He was found to be infected with HIV-2 but not HIV-1. After his death, the body was kept at 2 degrees Celsius. Due to difficulties in repatriation, the researchers had the opportunity to collect samples of blood or pericardial effusion up to 16 days and 12 hours after death. HIV-2 was cultured as described. A total of 4 out of 15 samples were cultured positively for HIV-2, positivity being detected 27-36 days after the start of culture. All other samples could not be evaluated because of contaminant growth. Positive samples included pericardial effusion removed 9.5 days after death, and blood removed 10.5, 11.5, and 16.5 days after death. Because HIV-2 grew in culture 16 days and 12 hours after death, it is in agreement with data showing recovery of infectious HIV from an aqueous environment after 15 days.


You can read the rest of the article at:
www.aegis.com...

Look at the last line in the quote, notice it says aqueous environment.

I don't know the infection rates in New Orleans, but I would caution anyone that is involved with recovering bodies.



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 05:50 AM
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Originally posted by anxietydisorder
You can read the rest of the article at:
www.aegis.com...


I think you should notice that the body was kept a 2 degress Celsius, which was probably the most important thing in keeping the virus alive. The bodies in New Orleans will have been left in completely different conditions. It also might well be a statistical outlier, as this is anectotal evidence, rather than a clinical study (although still perfectly valid).



I don't know the infection rates in New Orleans, but I would caution anyone that is involved with recovering bodies.

Well I think handling dead bodies with caution might be a good idea anyway.

I have just nipped next door at work to talk to an HIV doctor (I'm honestly not making this up, I work at a hospital in the UK and am based in the HIV\Sexual Health dept) - he says that he is not aware of anyone ever catching HIV from a dead body (though he was interested in the Lancet article) and it would be almost impossible.

In fact he says that in disaster zones like this dead bodies aren't really a problem (from a public health point of view) , as most diseases don't generally survive in the body very long after death. The real problem is contaminated water and raw sewage in the streets - you are much more likely to catch something from this than a body. Although the media often portrays it differently.

BTW, for any of you affected my Katrina you have my best wishes and I'm sure the US will show it's usual amazing powers of recovery.



posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 03:14 AM
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Thank for the further info all.

Just a follow up question: A body in a stream for example would contaminate the stream making the water unsafe for drinking (without boiling first?). Even thinking of say a farm animal that dies in a river or something like that.

From what was said up above this is not a big issue generally with the bodies in water in N.O.? The pathogens (?) won't be part of the contamination of the water there? Probably a moot point with all of the other contaminants I guess. Just find it strange that bodies that have been lying out in the sun for days in some cases or even cold wet conditions for that matter don't pose a serious health risk. I'm guessing that means not a serious risk if you follow the right procedures? Or does it refer more to my original question about deseases in the body being a follow on problem with body recovery.

[edit on 14-9-2005 by whita]

[edit on 14-9-2005 by whita]



posted on Oct, 12 2005 @ 07:12 PM
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I have to disagree with the fact that the disease is not transmitted by a dead body. I am a recent mortuary science graduate, and one of the biggest things stressed in our pathology and embalming classes is that WE (WE being the funeral director) are at a much greater risk than anyone else exposed to the body post-mortem, since we are doing the majority of the risky work involved- i.e the direct handling of body fluids.

My rebuttal to the teachers was simple- universal precautions. they are quite effective if followed consistently.



posted on Oct, 12 2005 @ 07:33 PM
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Originally posted by Bobbo
I have to disagree with the fact that the disease is not transmitted by a dead body. I am a recent mortuary science graduate, and one of the biggest things stressed in our pathology and embalming classes is that WE (WE being the funeral director) are at a much greater risk than anyone else exposed to the body post-mortem, since we are doing the majority of the risky work involved- i.e the direct handling of body fluids.

My rebuttal to the teachers was simple- universal precautions. they are quite effective if followed consistently.


I have a question, glad you posted.
I have asked many morticians where does the blood go from an aids victim who is embalmed.
They AVOID my question like the plague.
Does it or does it not go into the sewer system?

Thank you.



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 04:21 AM
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It is of course still possible to pick up pathogens from a dead body, however there has never been a recorded case of someone catching HIV from one. HIV isn't even that contagious.

A dead body will contanimate water if it is left in it, however like you said in your earlier post this is probably a moot point because the raw sewage etc floating around in the water already. You will not catch HIV from contaminated water, however there are thousands of other things you can get, many of which will kill you much quicker than HIV.



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 06:48 AM
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Originally posted by whita


Just wondered about if a HIV patient died and is still lying there somewhere; Are they a biological bomb for anyone that comes near them? Would the HIV "dissipate" as the body... well, rots. Could body fluids leeching out into the water make the water even more dangerous?


HIV/AID dies, with in 5 seconds with contact with air.



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by siriuslyone
I have a question, glad you posted.
I have asked many morticians where does the blood go from an aids victim who is embalmed.
They AVOID my question like the plague.
Does it or does it not go into the sewer system?
Thank you.


funeral homes are required to have and maintain a working septic system in their facility- the body fluids are drained from the body, into the septic system.

the only time the blood isn't sent through the septic system is when it is from a deceased member of certain jewish religions, at which time the blood is placed into jars and hermetically sealed to be buried with the body.



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 04:52 PM
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Thank you for easing my mind on the sewer question.
My Sig oth is on the police force and additionally has to to being in charge of many officers.
They are taught that the ONLY thing that will kill the aids virus is pure clorox.
Theoretically, if an aids victim could have their blood removed and then be flushed with clorox it would work, but the bleach would kill them, no?



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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Originally posted by SpittinCobra

Originally posted by whita


Just wondered about if a HIV patient died and is still lying there somewhere; Are they a biological bomb for anyone that comes near them? Would the HIV "dissipate" as the body... well, rots. Could body fluids leeching out into the water make the water even more dangerous?


HIV/AID dies, with in 5 seconds with contact with air.


Yeah, I was meaning as part of the fluids that build up in and seep from dead bodies. Was also wondering if these fluids leeching into flood waters would further contaminate the flood waters with the desease. That's all been answered by other posters above though.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by siriuslyone
Thank you for easing my mind on the sewer question.
My Sig oth is on the police force and additionally has to to being in charge of many officers.
They are taught that the ONLY thing that will kill the aids virus is pure clorox.
Theoretically, if an aids victim could have their blood removed and then be flushed with clorox it would work, but the bleach would kill them, no?


Theoretically, cleansing the blood with a non-toxic "cleanser" to rid it of the HIV/AIDS virus would work. but clorox would burn like hell, and would be deadly.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 12:27 PM
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really just say no to necrophilia and i think we be safe.




posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 05:58 PM
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The chance of HIV infection from a corpse if extraodinarily small. An infected body doesnt pose any threat of HIV infection to the general public, since the virus cannot survive outside the host for any significant time.
Direct contact with the body is a slightly different story, but still not a major threat. While HIV can theoretically survive inside a dead body for up to 6 days(according to the WHO), the viral load will probably become so low so quickly that it wont pose much threat of infection. People forget that HIV is relatively hard to transmit. The virus has to be introduced either directly into the bloodstream, through the mucous membranes(mouth, nose, eyes,etc) or through a skin abbrasion. Even then, the viral load(concentration of the virus in the blood) must be relatively high to cause infection(especially compared to Hepatitis and other viruses)



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 11:57 PM
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I'll agree with that, apw.

to be quite frank, part of my absence from ATS over the past several months was to combat hepatitis C, which I am almost 100% certain was from a needle-stick incident over 2 years ago. of all the big risk factors- IV drug use, homosexual intercourse, etc.- the only one I was ever exposed to was a needle-stick while in the prep room with several other students, one of whom broke through my glove, and then broke skin, while we were suturing the thoracic cavity of a deceased person after an autopsy.

as funeral directors, we aren't privvy to the health information of the deceased, especially at school, where the bodies come in and go out like a factory.

while I cant ever be 100% certain, the chances are high that one little stick of a Hepatitis C infected needle is what will, unfortunately, be my demise.

for the record, I'm putting this information out there just to clarify the topic at hand, and not for sympathy or pity- but this is a real risk for everyone in the healthcare (and "deathcare"
) industries.



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 07:19 AM
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Originally posted by siriuslyone
They are taught that the ONLY thing that will kill the aids virus is pure clorox.
Theoretically, if an aids victim could have their blood removed and then be flushed with clorox it would work, but the bleach would kill them, no?


It's a shame that they are teaching stuff that is just plain wrong to the police. Just to get it straight: the virus is called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is, as the name suggests, a syndrome; which means a collection of symptoms. HIV attacks certain elements of the immune system and if left unchecked will lower the bodies immune response to such an extent that it can't fight of diseases at all (this is AIDS). Many HIV infected people if treated with the correct drugs, do not get AIDS, however the virus never goes away.

HIV struggles to survive outside the human body, so to say you need clorox to kill it is just ridiculous. If it doesn't die by itself soap or even just hot water will kill it. People sharing needles can obviously pass the virus to each other, though this is because they quickly pass the needle to each other, not giving the virus chance to die off.

As a police officer or health care worker (or in fact an IV drug user) you should be much more worried about Hepatitis, which is a lot more infectious and will survive outside the body for much longer. As the previous poster can probably attest to. Getting HIV this way is very, very rare but catching Hep is relatively common.

Attributing almost supernatural powers to HIV is wrong, and contributes greatly to the stigmitisation of people with the disease.



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 10:38 AM
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Very well put, FLD.

kudos for clearing it up.




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