This opinion piece discusses the results of a survey on the effectiveness of wastewater surveillance. It includes recommendations to strengthen and sustain wastewater surveillance as a pandemic management tool which includes improving the use of wastewater data and increasing funding and other support for wastewater programs for many levels of agencies.
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.