Wang H, Churqui MP, Tunovic T, Enache L, Johansson A, Lindh M, Lagging M, Nyström K, Norder H
Sci Total Environ 895 (-) 165012 [2023-10-15; online 2023-06-22]
The quantification of viral genomes in wastewater reflects the prevalence of viral infections within the community. Knowledge of how the spread of common enteric viruses in the community was affected by the Swedish COVID-19 interventions is limited. To investigate this, the weekly wastewater samples collected for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at the Rya sewage treatment plant in Gothenburg were also analyzed for adenovirus, norovirus GII, astrovirus, and rotavirus. The amount of each viral genome was quantified by real-time-qPCR and compared with the quantity of these viral genomes in wastewater from 2017. The results showed that the winter seasonality of norovirus GII and rotavirus in wastewater observed in 2017 was interrupted shortly after the introduction of the COVID-19 interventions, and they remained at low level throughout the pandemic. The circulation pattern of astrovirus and adenovirus was less affected. When the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in 2022, a dramatic increase was observed in the amount of norovirus GII, rotavirus, and adenovirus genomes in wastewater. The changes in abundance and seasonality of some viruses identified through wastewater monitoring were consistent with changes in the number of patients diagnosed with these viruses. These findings suggest that moderate intervention to prevent COVID-19 significantly reduced the spread of some enteric viruses in the community. The results show that wastewater monitoring is a valuable tool for detecting the spread and outbreaks of viral infections that may cause gastroenteritis also when people do not seek medical help, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.