Fersiynau electronig


Dangosydd eitem ddigidol (DOI)

It is well established that air travel plays a key role in the global spread of many enteric and respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Even with travel restrictions (e.g. mask wearing, negative COVID-19 test prior to departure), SARS-CoV-2 may be transmitted by asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals carrying the virus. Due to the limitation of current clinical surveillance approaches, complementary methods need to be developed to allow estimation of the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 entry across international borders. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) represents one such approach, allowing the unbiased sampling of SARS-CoV-2 carriage by passenger cohorts entering via airports. In this study, we monitored sewage in samples from terminals (n = 150) and aircraft (n = 32) at three major international airports in the UK for 1-3 weeks in March 2022. As the raw samples were more turbid than typical municipal wastewater, we used beef extract treatment followed by polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation to concentrate viruses, followed by reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and a faecal indicator virus, crAssphage. All samples taken from sewers at the arrival terminals of Heathrow and Bristol airports, and 85% of samples taken from sites at Edinburgh airport, were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This suggests a high COVID-19 prevalence among passengers and/or airport staff members. Samples derived from aircraft also showed 93% SARS-CoV-2 positivity. No difference in viral prevalence was found before and after COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted. Our results suggest that WBE is a useful tool for monitoring the global transfer rate of human pathogens and other disease-causing agents across international borders and should form part of wider international efforts to monitor and contain the spread of future disease outbreaks.

Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Rhif yr erthygle0001346
CyfnodolynPLOS global public health
Rhif y cyfnodolyn1
Dynodwyr Gwrthrych Digidol (DOIs)
StatwsCyhoeddwyd - 19 Ion 2023

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