Data on Covid-19 in wastewater is now available to the public

The National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NICD) said that whether or not they have symptoms, people infected with Covid-19 can shed the virus in their feces.

The NICD said global experience shows that levels of coronavirus in wastewater reflect the burden of disease in society.

Variants of Covid-19 can be identified in wastewater by detecting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) specific to each variant.

SARS-CoV-2 is shed from symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with stool, but is not transmitted by the fecal-oral route or through sewage.

NICD recently launched a dashboard that allows the public to access surveillance data regarding Covid-19 detections in wastewater in South Africa.

Chief Executive Professor Adrian Puren said the technology is impressive.

“This allows public health decision makers and policy makers to make informed and timely decisions that can be extremely beneficial to communities.”

Puren said the dashboard was designed to allow users to view the concentration of Covid-19 found at each wastewater treatment facility in real time.

“In addition, trends in SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater at different time points can also be monitored, as well as the number of laboratory-confirmed cases in the sub-area where these treatment plants are located.

“In addition to monitoring disease transmission at the community level, the panel also serves as an early warning signal for potential outbreaks,” Puren adds.

The dashboard shows levels of Covid-19 at 87 wastewater treatment plants in all provinces.

The NICD said the treatment facilities are being tested by the institute and its collaborating partner laboratories, collectively known as the South African Cooperative Environmental Surveillance System for COVID-19 (SACCESS).

To view and interact with the control panel, Click here.

South Africa reported 3,237 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours on Monday.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,844,625 and the positivity rate to 18.7%.

The country also recorded 10 deaths, of which 4 occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings the total death toll to date to 100,533.

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