Researchers say that COVID-19 in wastewater poses a serious threat to our health. The scientists from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) conducted a new, global study and found “ample reason to be concerned about how long coronaviruses survive in wastewater and how it impacts natural water resources.”
According to Scienmag, the researchers found that virus-infected sewage may leak into natural water supplies causing the spread of airborne infection of the disease. They added that using treated wastewater to replenish lakes and rivers could also cause contagion. Fruits and vegetables irrigated with contaminated wastewater may spread infection indirectly, they said.
“Wastewater treatment plants need to upgrade their treatment protocols,” said Dr. Bar-Zeev, of the BGU Zuckerberg Institute, who was the lead author of the study. He urged treatment plants to use micro-and ultra-filter membranes which can successfully remove viruses.
Wastewater can also be an effective tracking tool to trace COVID-19, however, since experts say the virus shows up in feces before other symptoms such as fevers and coughs show up. There has been widespread support for a national wastewater surveillance program to a help track COVID-19 to provide a cost effective way to detect early signs of where the disease is spreading.
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