Covid data show sewage monitoring could be vital in infection control

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A pilot study’s analysis of schools’ wastewater shows its potential as an early warning system for public health teams

Schools may have had more Covid-19 infections before Christmas than previous research showed, according to data from a pilot study that senior public health experts believe could provide a crucial early warning system against future outbreaks.

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Covid was present in the sewage of 80% of 16 primary and secondary schools in England during December, and researchers detected the virus about a week before community testing, according to Mariachiara Di Cesare, a senior lecturer in public health at Middlesex University who led the study.

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