Topic Editors

Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
The Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, Center for Evolution and Medicine, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Dr. Crystal Marie Hepp
School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology

Abstract submission deadline
closed (31 January 2022)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (31 October 2022)
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23244

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is a growing field within public health surveillance that has produced many informative research studies during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It is gaining momentum due to its ability to capture virus presence and diversity at a population level (i.e., in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals) in a timely manner and at reduced (both monetary and time) cost—hence alerting of virus presence and circulation in populations before cases show up on case-based surveillance networks. In addition to SARS-CoV-2, prior work has focused on enteric viruses such as enterovirus, norovirus, rotavirus, hepatitis E virus and human adenoviruses, among others, which are shed in feces in large quantities and are consequently found in wastewater in copious quantities. When combined with nucleotide sequencing technologies, WBE also enables detection of variants ahead of their detection in clinical cases, thus guiding public health interventions in a manner that is both timely and cost effective.

In this Topic, we welcome studies focused on the use of wastewater-based epidemiology for surveillance of pathogenic human and animal viruses. Studies including nucleotide sequencing (both sanger and high throughput) strategies for virus detection and diversity profiling in wastewater are also welcome.

Dr. Matthew Scotch
Dr. Arvind Varsani
Dr. Crystal Marie Hepp
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • wastewater-based epidemiology
  • pathogenic human and animal viruses
  • epidemiological Monitoring
  • nucleotide sequencing strategies
  • virus detection
  • virus diversity

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
COVID
covid
- - 2021 16.8 Days CHF 1000
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ijerph
- 5.4 2004 29.6 Days CHF 2500
Viruses
viruses
4.7 7.1 2009 13.8 Days CHF 2600

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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8 pages, 590 KiB  
Communication
Monitoring Alcohol Consumption in Slovak Cities during the COVID-19 Lockdown by Wastewater-Based Epidemiology
by Paula Bimová, Alexandra Tulipánová, Igor Bodík, Miroslav Fehér, Martin Pavelka, Sara Castiglioni, Ettore Zuccato, Noelia Salgueiro-González, Nina Petrovičová, Ján Híveš, Viera Špalková and Tomáš Mackuľak
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032176 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1611
Abstract
The consumption of alcohol in a population is usually monitored through individual questionnaires, forensics, and toxicological data. However, consumption estimates have some biases, mainly due to the accumulation of alcohol stocks. This study’s objective was to assess alcohol consumption in Slovakia during the [...] Read more.
The consumption of alcohol in a population is usually monitored through individual questionnaires, forensics, and toxicological data. However, consumption estimates have some biases, mainly due to the accumulation of alcohol stocks. This study’s objective was to assess alcohol consumption in Slovakia during the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown using wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). Samples of municipal wastewater were collected from three Slovak cities during the lockdown and during a successive period with lifted restrictions in 2020. The study included about 14% of the Slovak population. The urinary alcohol biomarker, ethyl sulfate (EtS), was analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). EtS concentrations were used to estimate the per capita alcohol consumption in each city. The average alcohol consumption in the selected cities in 2020 ranged between 2.1 and 327 L/day/1000 inhabitants and increased during days with weaker restrictions. WBE can provide timely information on alcohol consumption at the community level, complementing epidemiology-based monitoring techniques (e.g., population surveys and sales statistics). Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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21 pages, 2756 KiB  
Article
Multiple Novel Human Norovirus Recombinants Identified in Wastewater in Pretoria, South Africa by Next-Generation Sequencing
by Victor Vusi Mabasa, Walda Brenda van Zyl, Arshad Ismail, Mushal Allam, Maureen Beatrice Taylor and Janet Mans
Viruses 2022, 14(12), 2732; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14122732 - 07 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2124
Abstract
The genogroup II genotype 4 (GII.4) noroviruses are a major cause of viral gastroenteritis. Since the emergence of the Sydney_2012 variant, no novel norovirus GII.4 variants have been reported. The high diversity of noroviruses and periodic emergence of novel strains necessitates continuous global [...] Read more.
The genogroup II genotype 4 (GII.4) noroviruses are a major cause of viral gastroenteritis. Since the emergence of the Sydney_2012 variant, no novel norovirus GII.4 variants have been reported. The high diversity of noroviruses and periodic emergence of novel strains necessitates continuous global surveillance. The aim of this study was to assess the diversity of noroviruses in selected wastewater samples from Pretoria, South Africa (SA) using amplicon-based next-generation sequencing (NGS). Between June 2018 and August 2020, 200 raw sewage and final effluent samples were collected fortnightly from two wastewater treatment plants in Pretoria. Viruses were recovered using skimmed milk flocculation and glass wool adsorption-elution virus recovery methods and screened for noroviruses using a one-step real-time reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR). The norovirus BC genotyping region (570–579 bp) was amplified from detected norovirus strains and subjected to Illumina MiSeq NGS. Noroviruses were detected in 81% (162/200) of samples. The majority (89%, 89/100) of raw sewage samples were positive for at least one norovirus, compared with 73% (73/100) of final effluent samples. Overall, a total of 89 different GI and GII RdRp-capsid combinations were identified, including 51 putative novel recombinants, 34 previously reported RdRp-capsid combinations, one emerging novel recombinant and three Sanger-sequencing confirmed novel recombinants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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15 pages, 2372 KiB  
Article
Quantifying the Relationship between SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Concentrations and Building-Level COVID-19 Prevalence at an Isolation Residence: A Passive Sampling Approach
by Patrick T. Acer, Lauren M. Kelly, Andrew A. Lover and Caitlyn S. Butler
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811245 - 07 Sep 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2538
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads can be detected in the excreta of individuals with COVID-19 and have demonstrated positive correlations with clinical infection trends. Consequently, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) approaches have been implemented globally as a public health surveillance tool to monitor community-level prevalence of infections. [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads can be detected in the excreta of individuals with COVID-19 and have demonstrated positive correlations with clinical infection trends. Consequently, wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) approaches have been implemented globally as a public health surveillance tool to monitor community-level prevalence of infections. The majority of wastewater specimens are gathered as either composite samples via automatic samplers (autosamplers) or grab samples. However, autosamplers are expensive and can be challenging to maintain in cold weather, while grab samples are particularly susceptible to temporal variation when sampling sewage directly from complex matrices outside residential buildings. Passive sampling can provide an affordable, practical, and scalable sampling system while maintaining a reproducible SARS-CoV-2 signal. In this regard, we deployed tampons as passive samplers outside of a COVID-19 isolation unit (a segregated residence hall) at a university campus from 1 February 2021–21 May 2021. Samples (n = 64) were collected 3–5 times weekly and remained within the sewer for a median duration of 24 h. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was quantified using reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) targeting the N1 and N2 gene fragments. We quantified the mean viral load captured per individual and the association between the daily viral load and total persons, adjusting for covariates using multivariable models to provide a baseline estimate of viral shedding. Samples were processed through two distinct laboratory pipelines on campus, yielding highly correlated N2 concentrations. Data obtained here highlight the success of passive sampling utilizing tampons to capture SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater coming from a COVID-19 isolation residence, indicating that this method can help inform building-level public health responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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8 pages, 249 KiB  
Brief Report
SARS-CoV-2 Testing of Aircraft Wastewater Shows That Mandatory Tests and Vaccination Pass before Boarding Did Not Prevent Massive Importation of Omicron Variant into Europe
by Lorlane Le Targa, Nathalie Wurtz, Alexandre Lacoste, Gwilherm Penant, Priscilla Jardot, Alexandre Annessi, Philippe Colson, Bernard La Scola and Sarah Aherfi
Viruses 2022, 14(7), 1511; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14071511 - 09 Jul 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3656
Abstract
Background: Most new SARS-CoV-2 epidemics in France occurred following the importation from abroad of emerging viral variants. Currently, the risk of new variants being imported is controlled based on a negative screening test (PCR or antigenic) and proof of up-to-date vaccine status, such [...] Read more.
Background: Most new SARS-CoV-2 epidemics in France occurred following the importation from abroad of emerging viral variants. Currently, the risk of new variants being imported is controlled based on a negative screening test (PCR or antigenic) and proof of up-to-date vaccine status, such as the International Air Transport Association travel pass. Methods: The wastewater from two planes arriving in Marseille (France) from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in December 2021 was tested by RT-PCR to detect SARS-CoV2 and screen for variants. These tests were carried out between landing and customs clearance and were then sequenced by MiSeq Illumina. Antigenic tests and sequencing by NovaSeq were carried out on respiratory samples collected from the 56 passengers on the second flight. Results: SARS-CoV-2 RNA suspected of being from the Omicron BA.1 variant was detected in the aircraft’s wastewater. SARS-CoV2 RNA was detected in 11 [20%) passengers and the Omicron BA.1 variant was identified. Conclusion: Our work shows the efficiency of aircraft wastewater testing to detect SARS-CoV-2 cases among travellers and to identify the viral genotype. It also highlights the low efficacy of the current control strategy for flights entering France from outside Europe, which combines a requirement to produce a vaccine pass and proof of a negative test before boarding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
9 pages, 1301 KiB  
Article
Monitoring of Enterovirus D68 Outbreak in Israel by a Parallel Clinical and Wastewater Based Surveillance
by Oran Erster, Itay Bar-Or, Virginia Levy, Rachel Shatzman-Steuerman, Danit Sofer, Leah Weiss, Rinat Vasserman, Ilana S. Fratty, Klil Kestin, Michal Elul, Nofar Levi, Rola Alkrenawi, Ella Mendelson, Michal Mandelboim and Merav Weil
Viruses 2022, 14(5), 1010; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14051010 - 09 May 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2094
Abstract
Enterovirus D68 (EVD68) was recently identified as an important cause of respiratory illness and acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), mostly in children. Here, we examined 472 pediatric patients diagnosed with severe respiratory illness and screened for EVD68 between April and October 2021. In parallel, [...] Read more.
Enterovirus D68 (EVD68) was recently identified as an important cause of respiratory illness and acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), mostly in children. Here, we examined 472 pediatric patients diagnosed with severe respiratory illness and screened for EVD68 between April and October 2021. In parallel, samples collected from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) covering the residential area of the hospitalized patients were also tested for EVD68. Of the 472 clinical samples evaluated, 33 (7%) patients were positive for EVD68 RNA. All wastewater samples were positive for EVD68, with varying viral genome copy loads. Calculated EVD68 genome copies increased from the end of May until July 2021 and dramatically decreased at the beginning of August. A similar trend was observed in both clinical and wastewater samples during the period tested. Sequence analysis of EVD68-positive samples indicated that all samples originated from the same branch of subclade B3. This study is the first to use wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) to monitor EVD68 dynamics by quantitative detection and shows a clear correlation with clinically diagnosed cases. These findings highlight the potential of WBE as an important tool for continuous surveillance of EVD68 and other enteroviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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10 pages, 2744 KiB  
Article
Spatial and Temporal Pattern of Norovirus Dispersal in an Oyster Growing Region in the Northeast Pacific
by Timothy J. Green, Chen Yin Walker, Sarah Leduc, Trevor Michalchuk, Joe McAllister, Myron Roth, Jasmine K. Janes and Erik T. Krogh
Viruses 2022, 14(4), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14040762 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2462
Abstract
Contamination of Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, by human norovirus (HuNoV) is a major constraint to sustainable shellfish farming in coastal waters of the Northeast Pacific. HuNoV is not a marine virus and must originate from a human source. A barrier to effective [...] Read more.
Contamination of Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, by human norovirus (HuNoV) is a major constraint to sustainable shellfish farming in coastal waters of the Northeast Pacific. HuNoV is not a marine virus and must originate from a human source. A barrier to effective management is a paucity of data regarding HuNoV dispersal in the marine environment. The main objective of this study was to identify the spatial distribution and persistence of HuNoV in an active shellfish farming region in the Northeast Pacific. Market-size C. gigas were sequentially deployed for two-week intervals at 12 sites during the 2020 winter risk period from January to April. Detection of HuNoV quantification was performed by reverse transcription real-time PCR (RTqPCR) according to method ISO 15216-1:2017, with modifications. RTqPCR did not detect GI HuNoV. The estimated prevalence of GII HuNoV in oyster digestive tissue was 0.8 ± 0.2%. Spatiotemporal analysis revealed that contamination of oysters with GII HuNoV changed through time and space during the surveillance period. A single cluster of oysters contaminated with GII.2 HuNoV was detected in a small craft harbor on 23 April. There was no significant increase in the proportion of positive pools in the next nearest sampling station, indicating that HuNoV is likely to disperse less than 7 km from this non-point source of contamination. Results from this study indicate that HuNoV contamination of coastal waters from non-point sources, such as small craft harbors and urban settings, can pose a significant localised risk to shellfish farming operations in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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17 pages, 3105 KiB  
Article
Emergency Management of Medical Wastewater in Hospitals Specializing in Infectious Diseases: A Case Study of Huoshenshan Hospital, Wuhan, China
by Jia-Jun He, Shu-Shu Zhao, Hui Zhang, Xia-Ying Liu, Qin Li and Wen-Xuan Fu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010381 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2520
Abstract
Medical wastewater originating from hospitals specializing in infectious diseases pose a major risk to human and environmental health during pandemics. However, there have been few systematic studies on the management of this type of wastewater management. The function of the Huoshenshan Hospital as [...] Read more.
Medical wastewater originating from hospitals specializing in infectious diseases pose a major risk to human and environmental health during pandemics. However, there have been few systematic studies on the management of this type of wastewater management. The function of the Huoshenshan Hospital as a designated emergency field hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 has provided lessons for the management measures of medical wastewater, mainly including: (1) Modern information technology, management schemes, and related standard systems provided the legislative foundation for emergency management of medical wastewater. (2) The three-tier prevention and control medical wastewater management system ensured the discharged wastewater met water quality standards, especially for the leak-proof sealed collection system of the first tier, and the biological and chemical treatment technology of the second tier. (3) The establishment of an effective three-tier medical wastewater quality monitoring accountability system. This system was particularly relevant for ensuring continuous data monitoring and dynamic analysis of characteristic indicators. (4) Information disclosure by government and public supervision promoted successful implementation of medical wastewater management and control measures. Public questionnaires (n = 212) further confirmed the effectiveness of information disclosure. The results of this study can act as methodological reference for the emergency management of wastewater in designated infectious disease hospitals under similar situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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17 pages, 3667 KiB  
Article
Quest for Optimal Regression Models in SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Based Epidemiology
by Parisa Aberi, Rezgar Arabzadeh, Heribert Insam, Rudolf Markt, Markus Mayr, Norbert Kreuzinger and Wolfgang Rauch
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10778; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010778 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3442
Abstract
Wastewater-based epidemiology is a recognised source of information for pandemic management. In this study, we investigated the correlation between a SARS-CoV-2 signal derived from wastewater sampling and COVID-19 incidence values monitored by means of individual testing programs. The dataset used in the study [...] Read more.
Wastewater-based epidemiology is a recognised source of information for pandemic management. In this study, we investigated the correlation between a SARS-CoV-2 signal derived from wastewater sampling and COVID-19 incidence values monitored by means of individual testing programs. The dataset used in the study is composed of timelines (duration approx. five months) of both signals at four wastewater treatment plants across Austria, two of which drain large communities and the other two drain smaller communities. Eight regression models were investigated to predict the viral incidence under varying data inputs and pre-processing methods. It was found that population-based normalisation and smoothing as a pre-processing of the viral load data significantly influence the fitness of the regression models. Moreover, the time latency lag between the wastewater data and the incidence derived from the testing program was found to vary between 2 and 7 days depending on the time period and site. It was found to be necessary to take such a time lag into account by means of multivariate modelling to boost the performance of the regression. Comparing the models, no outstanding one could be identified as all investigated models are revealing a sufficient correlation for the task. The pre-processing of data and a multivariate model formulation is more important than the model structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Wastewater-Based Epidemiology)
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