CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Ann Natl Acad Med Sci 2023; 59(03): 139-146
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1771030
Review Article

The Underutilization of Forensic Microbiology: A Narrative Review

Rumpa Saha
1   Department of Microbiology, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India
Stuti Kaushik
2   Department of Microbiology, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Delhi, India
Arvind Kumar
3   Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India
Swapnil Choudhary
3   Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India
› Author Affiliations


One of the main reasons of death in India is infection. At many centers, determining the infectious cause of death during autopsy is not regularly done. Although it is still a neglected field, postmortem microbiology has the potential to be a crucial tool for identifying the reason and circumstances of unexpected death. In addition to its use in forensic autopsies and medicolegal investigations, this tool can help with the detection of novel pathogen presentations, estimation of drug resistance, identification of bioterrorism agents, and a better understanding of infectious diseases like toxic shock syndrome, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In India, there has not been much use of microbiology in postmortem, and there is a dearth of specific guidelines or recommendations by regulatory agencies.

In an effort to highlight the value of microbiology in postmortem, this narrative review focusses on suggestions made by a group of academicians from Europe in February 2016 and how they may be used in an Indian context. Based on the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards, we have briefly discussed about postmortem in coronavirus disease 2019 related deaths.

Authors' Contribution

R.S.: Analyzed the data and revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content (microbiology), final approval. S.K.: Analyzed the data and drafted the manuscript. A.K.: Revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content (forensic medicine) and final approval. S.C.: Data collection and analysis of the data. All authors critically revised the manuscript, approved the final version to be published, and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Publication History

Article published online:
12 September 2023

© 2023. National Academy of Medical Sciences (India). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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