Now this is definitely a strange question to be asking yourself. But the truth is, this information could come in handy some day. Are dead bodies or rotting corpses actually a health risk? If you were to find yourself in a catastrophic event, you may find this information helpful. Then on the other hand, if you were in a catastrophic event, then this may be the last worry on your mind.
But none the less, let’s use an earthquake that occurred in Turkey back in 1999 for an example here.
The Earthquake in Turkey, The Year 1999
This event was a gruesome natural disaster that brought about many deaths in it’s path. So the Turkish government was concerned of the possible health risks that may be involved when citizens came into contact with the decomposing bodies. Their answer was to dig mass graves in order to bury the unfortunate victims. Of course the Islamic rules of burial were suspended by the clerics so this could be carried out in a more timely manner.
Are Dead Bodies a Health Risk?
Information acquired from the World Health Organization suggests that any health risk involved with coming into contact with the deceased were negligible at best and posed no immediate threat.
To take this a little further, if a victim was infected or died from an infectious disease, only then might their body pose a threat to the public. Basically, anyone that would come into contact with the dead bodies could become infected by the disease organisms, not the actual body itself. This apparently is the only scenario that would actually cause harm to someone. If the person died in a traumatic event, and were not carrying any disease, then their body would be harmless, even in a decomposing state.
The decomposition process is quite a massively disgusting process in and of itself. First the bacteria found within the body such as E. coli would start the process of breaking down the flesh instantly upon death. Then of course comes the maggots that would be hatched due to eggs being laid in the corpse. There are also many other insects and animals that may have their go at the body. So all in all, the process doesn’t take as long as you may think.
Is the Bacteria in Dead Bodies Dangerous?
Apparently the bacteria that is formed during the decomposition process is not dangerous at all. This is because everyone is already carrying these forms of bacteria in their body. Didn’t know that did you? Yah, it’s kind of a scary thought, but it really is harmless.
Then there’s the issue of all the insects and animals feasting on the corpses. Well, none of them are dangerous either, although it is quite a disgusting display. Of course we all know rats carry a number of diseases and deadly bacteria, things like typhus and the plague. But they are only harmful once human contact is made. So basically they’re pretty dangerous no matter what they’re doing…lol
You can read more facts and information on rats in my post, Rats! These Nasty Creatures Uncovered.
Now we can’t forget the odor released from a rotting corpse, and it is quite foul I would imagine, but it is nothing deadly. Some people may think that any bodies that were not buried could possibly contaminate the populations water supply. And of course this is a possibility, but in all actuality the bacteria emitted from a corpse poses no real threat unless it was in massive quantities. Odds that enough bodies to actually contaminate the water supply would be present are not likely.
So taking all this information into account, the World Health Organization suggested that the Turkish government gear its resources to helping the ones that were still living, rather than concentrating any more resources to the dead.
In conclusion I think it’s safe to say that dead bodies are not dangerous to your health, unless of course that body is your own! But in the event you are in a situation that involves you and a slew of dead bodies, at least you’ll have the comfort in knowing you are in no immediate health risk.
Ever been in a situation like this or have anything else to add about dead people, please use the comments below.