Testing poop at wastewater treatment plants could help predict coronavirus outbreaks, research says

May 7, 2020

Public health experts say poop could play a critical role in helping them predict coronavirus outbreaks, and officials are considering testing sewage in Northeast Ohio.

Testing for COVID-19 at wastewater treatment plants has been effective at predicting coronavirus outbreaks in multiple European countries. In the Netherlands, scientists at the KWR Water Research Institute found the virus in a local sewage system in March, three weeks before the nation confirmed its first case of the coronavirus.

If public health experts detect a high number of COVID-19 particles in wastewater, it could help them plan for an outbreak. They could have time to warn the public and corral supplies in an area expected to see a spike in hospitalizations caused by the coronavirus, experts say.
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