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Wastewater Testing May Provide Indication of Coronavirus


By Cathy Jakicic Emergency Preparedness
water testing

The University of Arizona may have stopped a potential coronavirus outbreak earlier this year by testing dormitory wastewater for COVID, according to Water World.

Sewage testing showed the presence of the virus’ RNA in raw wastewater samples from a particular dorm. The university then tested dorm residents and found two people who were asymptomatic but tested positive.

Wastewater tests also recently found possible presence of the virus at the University of Colorado residence halls and at the University of California-San Diego. 

Some U.S. cities have employed the practice of wastewater epidemiology, also called “sewage surveillance,” to understand infection rates because wastewater can signal infections up to one week before an individual might test positive with clinical testing.

Researchers looked at wastewater to measure how prevalent SARS-CoV-2 is in a given community, according to STAT.

Researchers collected samples in late March from a wastewater treatment plant serving a large metropolitan area in Massachusetts and found that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 particles in the sewage samples indicated a far higher number of people likely infected with Covid-19 than the reported cases in that area.

Cathryn Jakicic is healthcare industries editor of FacilitiesNet.com. For more information on hospital campuses and other medical facilities, click here.

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