Awash with Potential: Using Wastewater Surveillance to Shore Up Public Health

This story highlights the importance of wastewater surveillance in public health infrastructure, citing its use nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic and discussing local initiatives nationwide that implemented wastewater surveillance in their communities.

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Disease Tracking and Surveillance

Disease surveillance helps us detect disease cases, understand burden of disease and risk factors, provide the basis for timely and informed decision-making, guide control measures, and monitor impacts. Since the onset of COVID-19, surveillance efforts have worked to provide real-time tracking and forecast data, despite challenges with diagnostic capacity, case reporting, insufficient contact tracing, and fragmented data systems. COVID-19 has highlighted the need to invest in modern data systems, expand and skill up the workforce, and ensure data reporting and interpretation retain high ethical and epidemiological standards.

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Public Health

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