Translating Wastewater Surveillance Data
Faced with the need for non-invasive and scalable tools to supplement individual clinical testing and contact tracing efforts, public health officials and wastewater experts have begun turning to wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), which is also known as wastewater surveillance. This practice can monitor substances of concern in communities by detecting and quantifying their concentrations in community wastewater. Making the most of this potentially powerful tool requires three core tasks. First, it is essential to understand what WBE is, how it works, and its limitations. Second, the WBE team must include the right people to collect, analyze, and use the data. This includes adding a new role to the process to translate knowledge from wastewater analysis to public health decisions. And, finally, all sample collection and analysis activities need to be standardized to ensure the resulting decisions are based on comparable data.
- Apr. 2021