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Sci Total Environ . Correlation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater with COVID-19 disease burden in sewersheds

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  • Sci Total Environ . Correlation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater with COVID-19 disease burden in sewersheds


    Sci Total Environ


    . 2021 Feb 12;775:145790.
    doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145790. Online ahead of print.
    Correlation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater with COVID-19 disease burden in sewersheds


    Jennifer Weidhaas 1 , Zachary T Aanderud 2 , D Keith Roper 3 , James VanDerslice 4 , Erica Brown Gaddis 5 , Jeff Ostermiller 5 , Ken Hoffman 5 , Rubayat Jamal 6 , Phillip Heck 7 , Yue Zhang 8 , Kevin Torgersen 2 , Jacob Vander Laan 5 , Nathan LaCross 9



    Affiliations

    Abstract

    The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is shed in feces and the viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) is detectable in wastewater. A nine-week wastewater epidemiology study of ten wastewater facilities, serving 39% of the state of Utah or 1.26 M individuals was conducted in April and May of 2020. COVID-19 cases were tabulated from within each sewershed boundary. RNA from SARS-CoV-2 was detectable in 61% of 126 wastewater samples. Urban sewersheds serving >100,000 individuals and tourist communities had higher detection frequencies. An outbreak of COVID-19 across two communities positively correlated with an increase in wastewater SARS-CoV-2 RNA, while a decline in COVID-19 cases preceded a decline in RNA. SARS-CoV-2 RNA followed a first order decay rate in wastewater, while 90% of the RNA was present in the liquid phase of the influent. Infiltration and inflow, virus decay and sewershed characteristics should be considered during correlation analysis of SAR-CoV-2 with COVID-19 cases. These results provide evidence of the utility of wastewater epidemiology to assist in public health responses to COVID-19.

    Keywords: COVID-19; Disease burden; Interceptor; SARS-CoV-2 RNA; Sewershed; Wastewater epidemiology.

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