No Image Available

Wastewater-based Epidemiology: Mind the Poop!

 Author: GWOPA/UN-Habitat  Categories / Tags:  Language: English  Download

Although wastewater has been monitored for viruses and pollutants for years, the practice rose to prominence sharply during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that environmental surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 signals, or biomarkers (typically RNA), helps determine both the prevalence of disease and the overall health of a community. As such, it could act as a low-cost early warning system to monitor resurgences or reimportations of disease into communities as a complementary tool to medical testing.

In June 2020, as part of its COVID-19 webinar series, GWOPA and BMZ/GIZ facilitated a discussion between water utilities on wastewater monitoring. Check out the takeaways from that discussion here. The second session in September 2021 focused on wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) and brought together researchers in the urban sanitation and wastewater felds as well as water and wastewater utilities from different regions. Participants heard about good practices, sampling methods, and (low-cost) tools to monitor wastewater for epidemiological purposes, in cooperation with local health authorities.