Researchers of the University of Tartu created an early warning surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 based on waste water analysis. International experience has shown that traces of the virus can be detected in waste water samples even before clinical patients are found. Waste water analysis also provides early information about the local spread of the virus. The study aimed to discover latent outbreaks and monitor the dynamics of outbreaks.
Waste water samples were collected in all Estonian county centres and towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants. In the collection of samples, the University of Tartu cooperated with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and water companies operating the water treatment plants of Estonian towns. Waste water samples were analysed for the traces of coronavirus at the laboratories of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology that have the required technical capacity and trained staff.
The study started in August 2020. In the beginning of 2022 the methodology was ready to pass over to the Health Board who carries on the regular survey.
If the place name used on the map differs from the name of the municipality, it is due to the operating regions of the sewage treatment plants which may not fully correspond to the borders of municipalities.
Place names marked by an asterisk* signify districts of larger settlements:
*Järve and *Ahtme are districts of Kohtla-Järve
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Rapid review of wastewater survey results from August 2020 to September 2021
The animation summarizes the analysis results of 2140 wastewater samples collected during one year and one month.
Author of the animation: Peeter Laas, Research Fellow in Molecular Ecology at the University of Tartu
The project is led by Professor of Technology of Antimicrobial Compounds of the University of Tartu Tanel Tenson and Senior Research Fellow in Molecular Ecology Veljo Kisand.