What Are the Appropriate Collection Procedures If an Autopsy Is Not Performed for a Suspected Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Case?

Updated: May 21, 2020
  • Author: Medscape Drugs & Diseases; more...
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Answer

Answer

Obtain a postmortem nasopharyngeal (NP) swab specimen for COVID-19 testing. If NP swab specimens cannot be obtained, acceptable alternatives for upper respiratory swab specimens include an oropharyngeal specimen, or a nasal mid-turbinate swab, or an anterior nares (nasal swab) specimen, or nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal aspirate specimen.

Separate NP swabs should be obtained for testing of other respiratory pathogens.

If only a postmortem NP swab is being collected, individuals in the room during specimen collection should be limited to healthcare personnel obtaining the specimen.

Since collection of NP swab specimens from deceased persons will not induce coughing or sneezing, a negative-pressure room is NOT required if ONLY an NP swab is being collected from the decedent.

In addition to postmortem specimens, any remaining specimens (eg, NP swab, sputum, serum, stool) that may have been collected prior to death should be retained.

Please refer to Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for more information.


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