"Human norovirus (HuNoV) GII RNA in wastewater solids at 145 United States wastewater treatment plants: Comparison to positivity rates of clinical specimens and modeled estimates of HuNoV GII shedders"
Background: Human norovirus (HuNoV) is a leading cause of disease globally, yet actual incidence is unknown. HuNoV infections are not reportable in the United States, and surveillance is limited to tracking severe illnesses or outbreaks. Wastewater monitoring for HuNoV has been done previously and results indicate it is present in wastewater influent and concentrations are associated with HuNoV infections in the communities contributing to wastewater. However, work has mostly been limited to monthly samples of liquid wastewater at one or a few wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).
Methods: We measured HuNoV GII RNA in matched wastewater solids and liquid influent in 7 samples from a WWTP. We also applied the HuNoV GII assay to measure viral RNA in over 6000 wastewater solids samples from 145 WWTPs from across the United States daily to three times per week for up to five months. Measurements were made using digital droplet RT-PCR.
Results: HuNoV GII RNA preferentially adsorbs to wastewater solids where it is present at 1000 times the concentration in influent. Concentrations of HuNoV GII RNA correlate positively with clinical HuNoV positivity rates. Model output of the fraction of individuals shedding HuNoV is variable and uncertain, but consistent with i
Interpretation: These findings support the utility of wastewater solids as a matrix for community infectious disease surveillance.