Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Assessment

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 July 2024 | Viewed by 3849

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), The University of Queensland, 20 Cornwall Street, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102, Australia
Interests: wastewater analysis; LC-MS/MS; method uncertainties

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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Western Macedonia, 50100 Kozani, Greece
Interests: water and wastewater treatment; advanced oxidation processes (AOPs); physicochemical processes; photocatalysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), is a complementary method to traditional monitoring approaches for monitoring chemical use and exposure in a population. It can provide an estimate of the total use of substances including illicit and legal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and personal care products at the level of population in near real-time conditions. The approach operates based on the fact that after consumption/exposure, biomarkers—drugs and their metabolites—excreted into toilets and flushed into urban sewer networks can be measured in raw wastewater samples. Thus, by sampling at the influent of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and analyzing suitable biomarker concentrations, the consumption of the substances can be back-calculated, combining with the flow rate, catchment population and pharmacokinetic data of the biomarkers. WBE techniques have recently begun to provide insights into  diseases (COVID-19, gout, diabetes, and cancer) and lifestyles (food, nutrition).

This Special Issue welcomes research papers on various aspects of WBE, including applications of WBE in chemical use/exposure, reviews of WBE methodology, uncertainty analysis, etc. We encourage the submission of interdisciplinary work and collaborative research on the identification of new biomarkers for WBE and thetriangulating WBE data with other data sources. We are especially interested in potential submissions that focus on COVID-19 and other diseases.

Dr. Qiuda Zheng
Dr. Zacharias Frontistis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • wastewater analysis
  • wastewater-based epidemiology
  • health risk assessment
  • COVID-19
  • substance use

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 4092 KiB  
Article
Integrating Wastewater-Based Epidemiology and Mobility Data to Predict SARS-CoV-2 Cases
by Hannes Schenk, Rezgar Arabzadeh, Soroush Dabiri, Heribert Insam, Norbert Kreuzinger, Monika Büchel-Marxer, Rudolf Markt, Fabiana Nägele and Wolfgang Rauch
Environments 2024, 11(5), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11050100 - 12 May 2024
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Abstract
Wastewater-based epidemiology has garnered considerable research interest, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictive public health interventions and mobility limitations are measures to avert a rising case prevalence. The current study integrates WBE monitoring strategies, Google mobility data, and restriction information to assess the epidemiological [...] Read more.
Wastewater-based epidemiology has garnered considerable research interest, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictive public health interventions and mobility limitations are measures to avert a rising case prevalence. The current study integrates WBE monitoring strategies, Google mobility data, and restriction information to assess the epidemiological development of COVID-19. Various SARIMAX models were employed to predict SARS-CoV-2 cases in Liechtenstein and two Austrian regions. This study analyzes four primary strategies for examining the progression of the pandemic waves, described as follows: 1—a univariate model based on active cases; 2—a multivariate model incorporating active cases and WBE data; 3—a multivariate model considering active cases and mobility data; and 4—a sensitivity analysis of WBE and mobility data incorporating restriction policies. Our key discovery reveals that, while WBE for SARS-CoV-2 holds immense potential for monitoring COVID-19 on a societal level, incorporating the analysis of mobility data and restriction policies enhances the precision of the trained models in predicting the state of public health during the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Assessment)
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14 pages, 1686 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Wastewater Quality Parameters as an Alternative or Complement to Molecular Indicators for Normalization during SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater-Based Epidemiology
by Judith Straathof and Natalie M. Hull
Environments 2024, 11(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11040080 - 12 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Measuring fecal nucleic acid indicators for data normalization can increase costs during wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). The efficacy of routinely assayed water quality parameters was assessed as an alternative or complement to fecal nucleic acid viral indicator data for their utility in adjusting measured [...] Read more.
Measuring fecal nucleic acid indicators for data normalization can increase costs during wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE). The efficacy of routinely assayed water quality parameters was assessed as an alternative or complement to fecal nucleic acid viral indicator data for their utility in adjusting measured SARS-CoV-2 gene concentrations to improve the relationship between wastewater molecular data and clinical COVID-19 case data. This research covers two study designs: grab samples collected from sewers serving The Ohio State University campus and composite influent samples collected at five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across the state of Ohio. Weekly mandatory clinical testing was used to monitor infections in the student population, and statewide cases were reported through voluntary clinical testing. Statewide WWTP results showed significant strong correlation between SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in the wastewater and confirmed COVID-19 cases, and correlation increased when normalized by flow and additionally increased when normalized by pH, total suspended solids, and temperature, but correlation decreased when normalized by a nucleic acid fecal viral indicator (PMMoV). On campus, correlations were generally not significant unless normalized by PMMoV and/or UV absorbance parameters. Because water quality parameters are routinely assayed at wastewater treatment plants and some may be collected by autosamplers, incorporating wastewater quality data may improve WBE models and could minimize molecular and cellular testing for fecal indicators to decrease costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Assessment)
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15 pages, 1872 KiB  
Article
Correlating Quantitative and Genomic SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Data with Clinical Metrics in Metropolitan Perth, Western Australia
by Jake Gazeley, Terence Lee, Daniel R. Knight, Alexander Shivarev, Cameron Gordon, David Speers, Dylan D. Barth, Jelena Maticevic, Meredith Hodge, Paul Armstrong, Paul Knight, Sandra Sjollema and Avram Levy
Environments 2024, 11(4), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11040062 - 24 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1974
Abstract
Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has emerged as a key method for the continuous monitoring of COVID-19 prevalence including circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages. WBE addresses the limitations of traditional clinical COVID-19 surveillance such as clinical test availability, fluctuating testing rates, and increased reliance on rapid antigen [...] Read more.
Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has emerged as a key method for the continuous monitoring of COVID-19 prevalence including circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages. WBE addresses the limitations of traditional clinical COVID-19 surveillance such as clinical test availability, fluctuating testing rates, and increased reliance on rapid antigen tests. Our study in Perth, Western Australia found a significant positive correlation between SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in wastewater and clinical PCR positivity rates (rs = 0.772; p < 0.001) over an 18-month period that included four successive COVID-19 waves. A strong positive correlation was apparent between the proportions of SARS-CoV-2 lineages in wastewater and clinical cases within the same region (rs = 0.728, p < 0.001), including earlier detection of Omicron and recombinant lineages in wastewater before clinical case confirmation. The successful integration of WBE with healthcare data underscores its critical role in enhancing public health decision-making and pandemic management. This approach not only demonstrates the value of WBE in current global health surveillance efforts but also highlights the potential of WBE to address future public health challenges, as a comprehensive disease monitoring and response approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Assessment)
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