Webinar: Rapid Assessment of Sars-Cov-2 Transmission Risk for Fecally Contaminated River Water – September 28th, 2021

Speaker : Jamie Shutler. Associate Profesor, University of Exeter, UK.

Following the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), airborne water droplets have been identified as the main transmission route. Identifying and breaking all viable transmission routes are critical to stop future outbreaks, and the potential of transmission by water has been highlighted. By modifying established approaches, we provide a method for the rapid assessment of the risk of transmission posed by fecally contaminated river water and give example results for 39 countries. The country relative risk of transmission posed by fecally contaminated river water is related to the environment and the populations’ infection rate and water usage. On the basis of in vitro data and using temperature as the primary controller of survival, we then demonstrate how viral loads likely decrease after a spill. These methods using readily available data suggest that sewage spills into rivers within countries with high infection rates could provide infectious doses of >40 copies per 100 ml of water. The approach, as implemented in a freely available spreadsheet, can provide a fast estimate of the upper and lower viral load ranges following a riverine spill. The results enable evidence-based research recommendations for wastewater epidemiology and could be used to evaluate the significance of fecal–oral transmission within freshwater systems.

The 30 minute talk will present this work, explain its basis and how it can be used in both advising public health and guiding further research, and will describe the story behind its publication, including the people and the whales that compelled us into action.

You can find out more by clicking here. For registration, click here.

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