Surveillance of wastewater revealed peaks of SARS-CoV-2 preceding those of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Saguti F, Magnil E, Enache L, Churqui MP, Johansson A, Lumley D, Davidsson F, Dotevall L, Mattsson A, Trybala E, Lagging M, Lindh M, Gisslén M, Brezicka T, Nyström K, Norder H

Water Res 189 (-) 116620 [2020-11-10; online 2020-11-10]

SARS-CoV-2 was discovered among humans in Wuhan, China in late 2019, and then spread rapidly, causing a global pandemic. The virus was found to be transmitted mainly by respiratory droplets from infected persons or by direct contact. It was also shown to be excreted in feces, why we investigated whether the virus could be detected in wastewater and if so, to which extent its levels reflects its spread in society. Samples of wastewater from the city of Gothenburg, and surrounding municipalities in Sweden were collected daily from mid-February until June 2020 at the Rya wastewater treatment plant. Flow proportional samples of wastewater were collected to ensure that comparable amounts were obtained for analysis. Daily samples were pooled into weekly samples. Virus was concentrated on a filter and analyzed by RT-qPCR. The amount of SARS-CoV-2 varied with peaks approximately every four week, preceding variations in number of newly hospitalized patients by 19-21 days. At that time virus testing for COVID-19 was limited to patients with severe symptoms. Local differences in viral spread was shown by analyzing weekly composite samples of wastewater from five sampling sites for four weeks. The highest amount of virus was found from the central, eastern, and northern parts of the city. SARS-CoV-2 was also found in the treated effluent wastewater from the WWTP discharged into the recipient, the Göta River, although with a reduction of 4-log 10. The viral peaks with regular temporal intervals indicated that SARS-CoV-2 may have a cluster spread, probably reflecting that the majority of infected persons only spread the disease during a few days. Our results are important for both the planning of hospital care and to rapidly identify and intervene against local spread of the virus.

Category: Health

Category: Other

Type: Journal article

PubMed 33212338

DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116620

Crossref 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116620

NA: Provided in the article: amount of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in Gothenburg per week between February and June 2020

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