First confirmed detection of SARS-COV-2 in untreated municipal and aircraft wastewater in Dubai, UAE: The use of wastewater based epidemiology as an early warning tool to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19

Abdulla Albastaki, Mohammed Naji, Reem Lootah, Reem Almeheiri, Hanan Almulla, Iman Almarri, Afra Alreyami, Ahmed Aden, Rashed Alghafri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, China and spread to more than 114 countries resulting in a pandemic, which was declared by the WHO in March 2020. Tracking the spread of the virus raised a main concern in every country. Many researches proved the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in stool samples of patients, where the genes of this virus gave a positive signal several days prior to the occurrence of symptoms. The fact of viral shedding in stools provides an advantage in utilizing wastewater systems as a tool to monitor the viral prevalence. We tested more than 2900 municipal wastewater samples coming from 49 distinctive area in Dubai, where 28.6% showed positive results. We also looked into the wastewater samples from 198 commercial aircrafts arriving at Dubai Airport, giving a positive result percentage of 13.6%. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 genes was confirmed using TaqPath™ Covid-19 RT-PCR kit, which targets ORF1ab, N gene and S gene. This project shows the significance of utilizing wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) in monitoring the prevalence of various infectious diseases such as SARS-CoV-2, which can assist the decision makers to determine the level of precautionary measures according to the areas of the outbreak. With this in mind, pricewise, WBE is considered cost-effective when comparing to clinical nasal swabs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143350
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume760
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2021

Keywords

  • Aircraft sewage
  • Arab country
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Wastewater-based epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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