University of Tartu: Wastewater readings show coronavirus spreading again

Wastewater treatment plant in Tallinn.
Wastewater treatment plant in Tallinn. Source: Tallinna Vesi

The coronavirus is increasingly spreading throughout Estonia according to a recent University of Tartu survey which analyses sewage outflow. The regular studies took a break over summer, and this week only cover larger towns in Estonia.

The study's leader, Professor Tanel Tenson, said that: "When comparing this week's results with those of end of June, it is evident that the outbreaks are no longer limited to particular places, but the virus is evenly spreading throughout Estonia."

After a one-month break, researchers of the University of Tartu have returned to the weekly waste water analyses," he noted. While at the end of June, the concentration of coronavirus in wastewater had declined to low or moderate almost everywhere, it has notably increased as of now.

The surveys, conducted weekly, took a break through July; while they were supposed to be taken on by the Health Board (Terviseamet) during that time, lack of compatibility between sampling methodologies was given as a reason for that not materializing.

The latest results return a moderate to large incidence of coronavirus in the majority of larger sampling sites.

The university says its study helps Health Board to monitor changes in the outbreak dynamics, and to discover hidden outbreaks, giving early information which can be used in estimating the spread of the virus before clinical cases are detected.

University of Tartu's coronavirus wastewater survey results map. Source: University of Tartu

The university says its study helps Health Board to monitor changes in the outbreak dynamics, and to discover hidden outbreaks, giving early information which can be used in estimating the spread of the virus before clinical cases are detected.

The Health Board is regularly informed of the results. 

The university cooperates with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and local water authorities. The samples are analyzed at the laboratories of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology.

--

Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: