Covid-19 viral load in Curitiba sewer triples in one week

Curitiba recorded a three-fold increase in the viral load of Covid-19 in sewage networks, according to the Covid Esgotos Monitoring Network, in just one week. THE alert issued by the body coordinated by the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), this Friday (14), refers to the first epidemiological week of 2022 (01/04/2022).

The capital of Paraná had already registered a significant increase in the load of Sars-CoV-2 in the sewage, in the last epidemiological week of 2021 (28/12/2021), reaching a value equal to 168 billion copies per day per 10 thousand inhabitants.

However, the viral load of the disease in sewage has now reached 490 billion copies per day per 10,000 inhabitants, a value three times greater than that recorded in the last epidemiological week of 2021.

According to the Covid Sewage Monitoring Network, the data were obtained through the sum of the loads of the five monitored Sewage Treatment Stations, which together serve the entire population of Curitiba and a fraction of the metropolitan region of the capital.

ETE Belém, in Curitiba – Photo: Maurilio Cheli/AEN

Furthermore, an increase was also observed in the viral concentrations in the sewage of three monitored sub-basins of Curitiba (neighborhoods of Tarumã, Boqueirão and in the region of Rodoferroviária). Viral concentrations in these sub-basins were already at a high level at the end of 2021.

Covid in the sewer

The Covid Sewage Monitoring Network states that, although the genetic material (RNA) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be detected in high concentrations in sewage, there is no evidence that the virus is in its active and infectious form in this environment. Therefore, to date, there is no scientific proof that Covid-19 can be transmitted through fecal waste, sewage or contaminated water.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)3 do not consider sewage as a source of infectious SARS-CoV-2, capable of causing Covid-19, the agency warns.

Covid-19 is mainly transmitted through exposure to respiratory secretions containing the virus, such as droplets and aerosols generated when, for example, an infected individual speaks, coughs or sneezes. Another possible mode of transmission is through direct contact with an infected person (during, for example, a handshake followed by touching the eyes, nose or mouth), or through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

SARS-CoV-2 data generated from sewage is suitable for reporting on trends in the worsening or attenuation of the pandemic in the same city or region over time.

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