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Title: Tracking SARS-CoV-2 in rivers as a tool for epidemiological surveillance
Authors: Maidana-Kulesza, María Noel
Poma, Hugo Ramiro
Sanguino-Jorquera, Diego Gastón
Reyes, Sarita Isabel
Del Milagro Said-Adamo, María
Mainardi-Remis, Juan Martín
Gutiérrez-Cacciabue, Dolores
Cristóbal, Héctor Antonio
Cruz, Mercedes Cecilia
Aparicio González, Mónica
Rajal, Verónica Beatriz
Keywords: Social sciences::Geography
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Maidana-Kulesza, M. N., Poma, H. R., Sanguino-Jorquera, D. G., Reyes, S. I., Del Milagro Said-Adamo, M., Mainardi-Remis, J. M., Gutiérrez-Cacciabue, D., Cristóbal, H. A., Cruz, M. C., Aparicio González, M. & Rajal, V. B. (2022). Tracking SARS-CoV-2 in rivers as a tool for epidemiological surveillance. Science of the Total Environment, 848, 157707-.
Journal: Science of the Total Environment 
Abstract: The aim of this work was to evaluate if rivers could be used for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance. Five sampling points from three rivers (AR-1 and AR-2 in Arenales River, MR-1 and MR-2 in Mojotoro River, and CR in La Caldera River) from Salta (Argentina), two of them receiving discharges from wastewater plants (WWTP), were monitored from July to December 2020. Fifteen water samples from each point (75 in total) were collected and characterized physico-chemically and microbiologically and SARS-CoV-2 was quantified by RT-qPCR. Also, two targets linked to human contributions, human polyomavirus (HPyV) and RNase P, were quantified and used to normalize SARS-CoV-2 concentration, which was compared to reported COVID-19 cases. Statistical analyses allowed us to verify the correlation between SARS-CoV-2 and the concentration of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), as well as to find similarities and differences between sampling points. La Caldera River showed the best water quality; FIBs were within acceptable limits for recreational activities. Mojotoro River's water quality was not affected by the northern WWTP of the city. Instead, Arenales River presented the poorest water quality; at AR-2 was negatively affected by the discharges of the southern WWTP, which contributed to significant increase of fecal contamination. SARS-CoV-2 was found in about half of samples in low concentrations in La Caldera and Mojotoro Rivers, while it was high and persistent in Arenales River. No human tracers were detected in CR, only HPyV was found in MR-1, MR-2 and AR-1, and both were quantified in AR-2. The experimental and normalized viral concentrations strongly correlated with reported COVID-19 cases; thus, Arenales River at AR-2 reflected the epidemiological situation of the city. This is the first study showing the dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 concentration in an urban river highly impacted by wastewater and proved that can be used for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance to support health authorities.
ISSN: 0048-9697
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157707
Rights: © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
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