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WHO outlines safe burial protocol for Ebola victims

IANS November 08, 2014 6:29 IST

Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has unveiled a new WHO protocol for safe and dignified burials of people who die from the Ebola virus, emphasising the inclusion of family members and encouraging religious rites as an essential part of the burial process.

Ebola infections have occurred during burial preparation when family and community members perform religious rites that require directly touching or washing the body, which still contains high levels of the Ebola virus. Personal property of the person who has died may also transmit the virus, Xinhua reported.

"At least 20 percent of new Ebola infections occur during burials. By building trust and respect between burial teams, bereaved families, and religious groups, we are building trust and safety in the response itself." Pierre Formenty, one of the WHO's top Ebola medical experts said.

The updated protocol outlined step-by-step processes for safe and dignified burials, encouraging family and local clergy to participate in the planning and preparation of the burial, as well as at the burial event itself, according to Muslim and Christian funeral traditions.