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Coronavirus Illness 2019 (COVID-19)

Overview of wastewater surveillance knowledge interpretation and use

Acceptable public well being interpretation of wastewater surveillance knowledge will depend on understanding the surveillance sampling technique and testing limitations, in addition to legitimate knowledge processing and evaluation. Wastewater surveillance knowledge are primarily utilized in 3 ways:

  1. Monitoring for presence of an infection inside a group.
  2. Monitoring developments in an infection inside a group.
  3. Screening for infections at a focused web site (e.g., constructing or facility) to set off extra individual-based testing and mitigation measures. Evaluate CDC’s steering on focused wastewater surveillance to make use of wastewater surveillance knowledge for screening.

Interpretation of wastewater surveillance knowledge

Wastewater surveillance knowledge collected on the municipal degree, when analyzed appropriately, can present data on:

  1. Presence of contaminated people contributing to a wastewater system.
  2. An infection developments throughout the group contributing to a wastewater remedy plant (referred to as a “sewershed”). Sewersheds with largely transient populations, resembling areas with excessive tourism, might present much less steady alerts which must be thought of when designing the wastewater surveillance plan for public well being motion.


Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater will depend on the sampling design, the sensitivity of the take a look at used, and the quantity of SARS-CoV-2 being shed by the group sampled. If SARS-CoV-2 is detected in wastewater, which means there’s at the least one particular person within the sewershed shedding SARS-CoV-2. Whether or not particular person(s) are infectious or symptomatic can’t be decided from wastewater surveillance knowledge. If SARS-CoV-2 just isn’t detected in wastewater, this might point out that there isn’t a SARS-CoV-2 within the sampled group or that the focus of virus in wastewater is beneath the extent the take a look at can detect.

Low virus ranges within the wastewater of a group may point out: 1) a small complete variety of individuals are shedding the virus into the sewer system; or 2) the quantity of virus being shed per contaminated or not too long ago contaminated individual is low. The minimal variety of people shedding SARS-CoV-2 into the system wanted to detect a viral RNA sign in wastewater just isn’t identified right now. As extra data on fecal shedding titers are collected, it could be attainable to find out the variety of people shedding the virus inside a sewershed wanted to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater.


Wastewater development classification is the statistical evaluation of adjustments within the normalized focus of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater (i.e. not by qualitative visible evaluation). Developments in these wastewater knowledge can be utilized to evaluate COVID-19 developments (reported and unreported) throughout the group contributing to the sewer system.  Developments can by categorised into classes primarily based on the length and route of change in viral portions. The frequency of wastewater sampling will dictate the time interval for which developments could be assigned.

A advantage of development evaluation is that:

  • Knowledge from wastewater remedy vegetation could be in contrast, regardless of variations in inhabitants dimension and wastewater quantity.
  • Developments in wastewater could also be identified previous to COVID-19 reported case developments, on condition that normalized focus of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater have been proven to coincide or lead with new reported instances inside a sewershed by days.

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