Poop Provides Early Sign of Coronavirus Cases to Increase, Study Finds

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ToplineScientists in the Netherlands detected COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, in a city’s sewer system before all cases were officially reported in human tests, indicating that wastewater testing could be used as an early warning sign of an increase in coronavirus cases.

  • The study, which was not peer reviewed, was published by the KWR Water Research Institute, a research group based in the Netherlands.
  • Researchers found COVID-19 in the wastewater of the city of Amersfoort on March 5, before cases were reported in this city by tests, but after the Netherlands reported their first case in the country.
  • The authors indicate that the first results show that “monitoring of wastewater could also serve as an early warning in the event of (re) emergence of COVID-19 in cities”, in particular when tests are limited.
  • Although the virus is unlikely to be transmitted via sewage, the authors write, traces of the coronavirus will appear in sewage systems because the disease’s RNA can be detected in the stool.
  • Study authors warn that their methods need to be further documented and validated, but say the results could provide “the water sector will have a tool that will provide valuable additional information on the spread of the virus in the population.”

Crucial quote: “It is important to collect information on the occurrence and fate of this new virus in wastewater to understand whether there is any risk for workers in wastewater, but also to determine whether surveillance of Wastewater could be used to monitor the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in our communities, this could complement current clinical surveillance, which is limited to COVID-19 patients with the most severe symptoms, “said the study.

News: Public health experts say the coronavirus may reappear in another wave during the fall after a summer crisis. Globally, there are more than 900,000 cases of coronavirus, with the most infections in the United States. The Netherlands has 13,696 cases, according to Johns Hopkins.

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