Using Technology and Innovation to Monitor Disease Risks
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with other U.S. government agencies, initiated a National Wastewater Surveillance System in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wastewater surveillance has been widely used in the U.S. and Senegal, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, and Rwanda by STOP Spillover partner, Tetra Tech, and in U.S. universities including at MIT. Tetra Tech has even created portable wastewater surveillance kits for use in local schools.
Although COVID-19 is largely transmitted by respiratory droplets and not fecal-oral routes, viral RNA can be detected in feces for up to several weeks post-infection. This makes wastewater surveillance a useful tool to complement traditional surveillance methods. In collaboration with local stakeholders and national governments, the STOP Spillover team plans on piloting wastewater surveillance approaches, tools, and technologies to reduce the risks related to the amplification and spread of zoonotic diseases in target countries.