In the recent COVID19 outbreak, wastewater-based epidemiology has played an important role as it has been used to monitor the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in communities. In fact, similarly to chemical analyses, molecular methods such as quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) or next generation sequencing (NGS) can be used to track human pathogens in wastewater. This information can be used to determine if a certain pathogen is present in a community, if its levels are increasing (or decreasing) and, combined with other epidemiological data, can help better understand its circulation in the population.
This approach has been widely implemented to monitor the COVID19 virus, however it can be used for potentially any human pathogen which is eliminated through faeces and/or urine. In fact, this approach has been used to monitor the circulation of other viruses, such as the poliovirus, but also to assess antimicrobial resistance (AMR).