The Potential Risk of Microbial Transmission from Cadavers to its Handlers Including Teaching Staff, Medical Students, Paramedical Staff Working in Dissection Hall | Abstract

International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences (IJMRHS)
ISSN: 2319-5886 Indexed in: ESCI (Thomson Reuters)


The Potential Risk of Microbial Transmission from Cadavers to its Handlers Including Teaching Staff, Medical Students, Paramedical Staff Working in Dissection Hall

Author(s):Ashfaq Ul Hassan, Sajad Hamid and Azhar Shfi

Background: Cadavers remain a principal teaching tool for anatomists and medical educators teaching gross anatomy. Infectious pathogens in cadavers that present particular risks include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, the AIDS virus HIV and prions that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD) and Gerstmann Straussler Scheinker Syndrome (GSS). It is often claimed that fixatives are effective in inactivation of these agents. Unfortunately cadavers, even though they are fixed, may still pose infection hazards to those who handle them. Specific safety precautions are necessary to avoid accidental disease transmission from cadavers before and during dissection and to decontaminate the local environment afterward. In this brief review, we describe the infectious pathogens that can be detected in cadavers and suggest safety guidelines for the protection of all who handle cadavers against infectious hazards.

Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine if cadavers fixed in a formalin solution are a possible source of microorganisms in the anatomy dissection Hall which can be a potential threat of infection for students.

Material and methods: Students were made to do dissection of routinely preserved cadavers using gloves. Samples from the contaminated gloves were collected and sent to microbiology department for culture and sensitivity.

Results: Using conventional bacteriologic culture and identification methods, our research group was able to successfully recover and identify a variety of organisms from gloves. The results indicate that cadavers processed with 10% buffered formalin have viable organisms on their surfaces that can be a source of contamination. Given the diversity of bacterial species cultured, preserved cadavers used for anatomy education as well as research must be considered a possible source for dissemination of bacterial organisms.

Conclusion: The results indicate that cadavers fixed with formalin are potential source of infection for students as well as faculty. This study underscores protocols to decrease cross contamination.

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