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Patkin (October 7, 2022) reports that Boston Public Health Commission recently detected an elevated concentration of COVID-19 in their wastewater. Therefore, wastewater monitoring can be an early indicator of COVID-19’s spread. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) surveillance analyzes sewage to identify the presence of biologicals or chemicals for public health surveillance.

Promega (2022) reports that “WBE has been used to detect the presence of pharmaceutical or industrial waste, drugs, viruses, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” In addition, WBE technology can be administered anywhere in the country with the right team.

WBE has proved to be a valuable tool for tracking outbreaks and disease dynamics. WBE strategy shows similar potential in helping public health departments monitor many diseases. The diseases such as enteroviruses (such as polio), orthopox viruses (such as monkeypox), and emerging pathogen threats in communities can be monitored. The CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Data from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which tracks eastern Massachusetts wastewater, shows virus levels fluctuating following a steep spike that began in late September.

NIH (2022) explains that “epidemiology is the branch of medical science that investigates all factors that determine the presence or absence of diseases and disorders.” Epidemiological research helps us to understand how many people have a disease or disorder by determining the data recorded and observed. Epidemiologists can follow populations by routinely monitoring wastewater for COVID-19. Epidemiology is the branch of medical science investigating all the factors to understand how many people have a disease or disorder and how the condition affects our environment.

For instance, Patkin (October 7, 2022) reports as of “October 3, the amount of virus in Boston’s wastewater had increased 99.9 percent in the last two weeks.” As a result, Boston health officials are urging residents to vaccinate and put on a mask. Bean (October 10, 2022) reports that there are signs that a COVID-19 surge could strain the healthcare system during flu season this year. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) surveillance can serve as an early warning sign, detecting an increase in cases long before people undergo testing. The Narrative Matters!

References:

Bean, M. (October 10, 2022). Signs of winter COVID-19 surge grow. Signs of winter COVID-19 surge grow (beckershospitalreview.com)

NIH. (2022).What Is Epidemiology? What Is Epidemiology? | NIDCD (nih.gov)

Patkin, A. (October 7, 2022).Wastewater virus levels rising, health officials urge boosters, tests, and masks.COVID-19 wastewater levels rising, Boston health officials urge boosters

Promega.(2022).Wastewater Surveillance for Tracking COVID-19 & Other Diseases. COVID 19 Wastewater Detection | Sewage Surveillance to Track COVID-19 | SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater (promega.com)

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