Cookie tracking notice
Are we allowed to crumble with cookies and anonymous tracking?

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site (so called session cookies), while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). We use the application Matomo and the external service etracker to analyze your behavior on our website anonymously. Because we value your privacy, we are here with asking your permission to use the following technologies. You can change your settings any time via this link or the menu item in footer menu. For more information visit our Data Policy

Synthesis document for the thematic discussion Testing Sewage for Early Warnings about COVID-19

Jacob, N. (2020)

Published in: 2020
Pages: 20

Jacob, N.

Uploaded by:
Nitya Jacob


Research from past epidemics of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by coronaviruses has suggested viruses are excreted in stools by infected human beings. They have been detected in sewage. Mapping where they were found can help determine if there were infections in a geographic area. This method has been used to keep tabs on polio and use of drugs, especially cocaine.

Traces of the Corona virus have been detected in sewage. As per a guidance document (23rd April 2020) by WHO, there have been no evidence yet to suggest that the SARS–nCOV-2 virus transmitted through treated or untreated sewage is infectious. Tracking sewage for traces of the virus, however, can be one of the proxy indicators to identify where the infection is prevalent.

Surveillance of the Sars-nCov-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can be especially useful for surveillance in densely populated urban residential areas where individual testing and social distancing is difficult. Some such residential areas have community toilets (CTs) connected to a sewer line from where samples can be obtained. This testing can be a sensitive tool to monitor circulation of the virus in a population.

This discussion was set up to elicit inputs to work out an ‘Indian’ protocol to test sewage and develop an action plan based on the evidence to manage COVID-19 infections. Currently, urban local bodies (ULBs) have no alternate means to detect COVID-19 infections other than mass testing/herd testing.

Bibliographic information

Jacob, N. (2020). Synthesis document for the thematic discussion Testing Sewage for Early Warnings about COVID-19.

Filter tags

East Asia & Pacific English Journalists Practitioners Publications by SuSanA


Synthesis document for the thematic discussion Testing Sewage for Early Warnings about COVID-19

Format: pdf file
Size: 1.12 MB

Share this page on    

Follow us on    

SuSanA Partners  currently 400 partners

Networks Circle


Latest SuSanA Blog Articles

SuSanA Blog »

SuSanA newsletter

Stay informed about the activities of SuSanA and its partners. The SuSanA newsletter is sent out around four times per year. It contains information about news, events, new partners, projects, discussions and publications of the SuSanA network.

Subscribe to newsletter »




Resources and publications

Our library has more than 3,000 publications, factsheets, presentations, drawings etc. from many different organisations. It continues to grow thanks to the contributions from our partners.

Add item to library »

The three links below take you to special groups of items in the library for more convenient access:


The project database contains nearly 400 sanitation projects of many different organizations dealing with research, implementation, advocacy, capacity development etc. Advanced filtering functions and a global map are also available. Information on how and why this database was created is here.

People working for SuSanA partners can add their own projects through their partner profile page. You might need your SuSanA login upgraded for this purpose. Please contact us if you would like to add a project.

Trainings, conference and events materials

Missed important conferences or courses? Catch up by using their materials for self study. These materials have been kindly provided by SuSanA partners.

Shit flow diagrams, excreta flow diagrams (310 SFDs worldwide)

Shit flow diagrams (SFDs) help to visualize excreta management in urban settings. Access SFDs and more through the SFD Portal.

Emersan eCompendium

Humanitarian Sanitation Hub

Sanitation Workers Knowledge and Learning Hub




Discussion forum

Share knowledge, exchange experiences, discuss challenges, make announcements, ask questions and more. Hint: Your discussion forum login is the same as your SuSanA login. More about the forum's philosophy »

Integrated content

We are hosting content from some other communities of practice and information-sharing portals. This section also provides a link to SuSanA's Sanitation Wikipedia initiative.

Suggest content to add »

SuSanA partners

Not yet a SuSanA partner? Show your organisation's support to SuSanA's vision and engage in  knowledge sharing by becoming partners.

Apply to become a partner »

Individual membership

Register as an individual member of SuSanA free of charge. As a member you can interact with thousands of sanitation enthusiasts on the discussion forum.  You can also get engaged in one of our 13 working groups and our regional chapters. Our FAQs explain the benefits further.

By getting a SuSanA login you can fully participate in the SuSanA community!

Register as a member


Forgot your password?
Forgot your username?