World News – UA – How Scientists Track and Identify Diseases Like COVID-19 Through Sewers

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The COVID-19 pandemic has rekindled interest in wastewater monitoring, where sewage systems are monitored for the presence of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens Non-infectious fragments of genetic material of the virus have been discovered in untreated wastewater in Italy, Spain, France, the United States and Canada

Several cities are now using approach to detect infection, including Ottawa At least one US university has used sewage monitoring to identify a COVID-19 outbreak, ordering testing and quarantine nearly 300 students living in four campus residences – and stopping its spread

As a microbiologist specializing in the surveillance of foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella and E coli, I am always interested in better ways to identify infections in populations

Disease identification currently relies on sick people seeking medical help But many sick people do not seek help and officials may not be aware of diseases or outbreaks for days or weeks , resulting in more illness and death To fight outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, we need active surveillance systems that do not rely on the actions of sick people

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Wastewater monitoring works because many infectious agents are excreted in body fluids, before and during active infection.When these fluids enter sewer systems, they are transported to a central water treatment facility used to be treated where they can be detected

The usefulness of wastewater monitoring was first recognized in the 1960s, when researchers at Yale University conducted several experiments to assess the effectiveness of polio vaccination campaigns. tested wastewater in Middletown, Conn, for various strains of the polio virus before, during and after the vaccination program

Thirty-five years later, the sensitivity of wastewater surveillance to monitor polio virus vaccination programs was confirmed in a stylish study that has come to be known as the polio in Helsinki

Scientists threw a polio vaccine down a toilet 20 kilometers from a sewage treatment plant The researchers then collected sewage samples from the facility for four days and showed that ‘they could still detect the vaccine after 800 million liters of wastewater passed through the system They concluded that an infected person shedding the polio virus could be detected in a community of 10,000 people

Other research has shown that outbreaks can be predicted by monitoring wastewater For example, in Israel in the 1970s, the infectious polio virus was detected in wastewater nine days before doctors identified the first case This approach was then adapted to monitor the success of polio vaccination campaigns internationally

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In 2013, Swedish researchers reported that wastewater monitoring provided early warnings of outbreaks of norovirus and hepatitis A virus, two causes of food-borne viral illness Daily wastewater samples were collected every two weeks between January and May 2013 at a sewage treatment plant in Gothenburg Using a technique called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, researchers detected the genetic material of norovirus two to three weeks before identifying sick people.

Several strains (genetic types) of hepatitis A virus were also detected in wastewater samples using PCR, and further analysis showed that two strains were involved in an outbreak in courses in Scandinavia and Gothenburg in spring 2013

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Italian researchers used a similar approach to show that hospital patients with diarrhea of ​​unknown cause were in fact infected with noroviruses

One of the limitations of wastewater surveillance is that it cannot identify people who are actually infected with “Syndromic Social Media Analysis”, in which social media posts are searched for descriptions of. symptoms consistent with a given disease, has become an effective tool for the surveillance of infectious diseases, including COVID-19

The combination of wastewater monitoring and social media analysis could spot community outbreaks that might otherwise have gone undetected, as the approach identifies infected people who are not yet showing symptoms ( presymptomatic) or symptom-free (asymptomatic) (Both groups can spread the virus) This information can be used by public health officials to reinforce physical distancing and other isolation practices such as screening targeted individuals to limit the spread of the disease in the community

The increase in international travel and globalization have led to the rapid spread of infectious diseases To combat this, global infectious disease surveillance must be conducted in real time or near real time, and go beyond simply monitoring the number of people infected to also include the ability to quickly recognize new disease patterns The low cost, speed and ability of wastewater surveillance to detect emerging pathogens before they become endemic improves the ability to respond to disease outbreaks without delay, reducing disease and death globally

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license Read the original article

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Coronavirus, sewers

News from the world – AU – How scientists track and identify diseases like COVID-19 in sewers
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SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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