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Wastewater Surveillance System as a Complementary Approach for Rapid Identification of Infectious Diseases Outbreaks

The rapid identification of infectious disease outbreaks is critical, both for effective initiation of public health intervention measures and timely alerting of government agencies and the general public. Surveillance capacity for such detection can be costly, and many countries lack the public health infrastructure to identify outbreaks at their earliest stages. Wastewater surveillance is a promising complementary approach to clinical surveillance for monitoring community outbreaks. This approach can help detect the presence of pathogens across municipalities, and estimate disease incidence independent of individual testing. Wastewater surveillance may help overcome known limitations of clinical surveillance, such as low population coverage, high costs, testing and reporting delays, and the uncertain likelihood of an individual to seek health care. It is less resource intensive than large scale clinical testing, making it an optimal and cost-effective tool for long term monitoring as well as early identification of pathogens circulating in the population.

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