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The Dangers of a Decomposing Body

A crime or trauma scene can occur at any time and it is important to be prepared for this type of situation. A serious accident or injury that results in death can be traumatizing to discover, but it may also be more damaging than that.

Bodily fluids and blood from the dead body can spread infection or disease to those who encounter it, so you must avoid the body and call 9-1-1 immediately.

crime scene


Fortunately, dead and decomposing bodies do not typically pose a threat unless the victim died of a highly infectious disease, such as Ebola or cholera. In these cases, those who encounter the body must wear a mask and other precautionary equipment to protect themselves from contracting their disease. It is dangerous for those who are inexperienced, so the best course of action is to call a professional.
Victims who died from trauma, such as a serious accident or natural disaster, do not typically carry infectious organisms and are generally safer to interact with. However, be sure to not let the decomposing body near a water source because the water can become contaminated and ingesting the water can cause diarrhea or waterborne illnesses.

Decomposing bodies that were the victim of trauma pose no threat to the public other than a foul odor and a traumatizing crime scene. However, if the body is left unguarded for a long period of time, it will attract animals and insects that want to consume the cadaver. It is important to call emergency services and a biohazard cleanup professional to remove the body from your property and prevent an infestation.

A pungent odor follows a recent death and is often what alerts surrounding people of the decomposing body. The smell itself is not a biohazard and is not considered a health hazard to the public. The foul odor is a result of bacteria inside the body that begins breaking down internal organs after their natural flow of nutrients has halted due to the death.


Finding a deceased person on your property can be distressing, especially if it is a family member or loved one. It can be difficult to think or process emotions in this situation, so it is best to know what to do before a trauma scene occurs.

First, leave the scene immediately, especially if the death was a result of a violent crime. Make sure you are away from dangers like possible perpetrators and bodily fluids from the body before doing anything else. Once you are safe, call law enforcement and emergency medical services to the location of the body.

If you must go near the body for any reason, wear a face mask and avoid touching it if possible. If the death is due to a traumatic accident or natural disaster, you are likely not at risk, but it doesn’t hurt to be precautious, especially if blood and bodily fluids are still present.

What To Do

When you discover a dead body on your property, remove yourself from the situation if possible and call emergency services immediately. Our technicians are trained to cooperate with law enforcement during any investigations and we will clean the area with our protective equipment and advanced cleaning products.

We provide the following crime and trauma scene cleaning services:

• Removal of biohazardous materials and all trace of the incident
• Thorough cleaning of the area to prevent infection or disease
• Transportation and disposal of biohazard materials at a licensed medical waste facility
• Compliance with federal, state, and local government health regulations

We understand that it is difficult to encounter the tragic loss of a loved one, so our professionals will be compassionate and respectful during the death cleanup process. We will work diligently to restore your property to its original condition quickly for your comfort.
If you discover a body on your property as a result of a violent crime or serious accident, stay calm and avoid the situation to prevent further harm. Once you are safe, call for help and wait for the arrival of law enforcement and crime scene cleaning professionals.

Contact Us

Discovering a decomposed body is a traumatizing and overwhelming experience, so allow us to help by quickly cleaning and restoring the area. At ServiceMaster Restore, our technicians will work diligently to return your property to normalcy to help your grieving process.