WASTEWATER-BASED EPIDEMIOLOGY FOR SARS-COV-2 IN SOUTH AFRICA

This report summarises and interprets findings from detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 levels by the NICD Centre for Vaccines and Immunology in influent (untreated) wastewater in 18 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) across five provinces tested by the NICD, and 24 additional plants tested by SACCESS partners including the National Institute for Occupational Health, Lumegen Laboratories, Green Hill Laboratories and Precaution to cover all provinces. This report is based on data collected from June 2020 up to 19 November 2021 (week 46 of 2021).

Key highlights:

  • Levels of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in Gauteng, eThekwini and Cape Town, as well as certain other localised areas are increasing. The increase reflects increased population-level transmission and is likely to be followed by increased burden of cases and hospitalisations. Health authorities are requested to alert the public and promote vaccination and adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions including mask wearing and social distancing.
  • Increases in the following areas have been observed:
  • Gauteng Province:
  • Tshwane District Municipality: Four and three successive increases in SARS-CoV-2 levels have been detected from Daspoort (Pretoria central) and Rooiwal (Pretoria North) WWTPs, respectively. Levels may be increasing in Baviaanspoort (Mamelodi).
  • The City of Johannesburg: Three successive increases have been observed in Goudkoppies (Soweto). Levels may be increasing in Ennerdale (Johannesburg far south).
  • Ekurhuleni: Two successive increases were detected in Hartebeesfontein (Tembisa) WWTP. Levels may be increasing in Vlakplaats (Vosloorus and Katlehong) and JP Marais (Benoni) plants.
  • KwaZulu-Natal:
    • eThekwini: Two successive increases were detected Central WWTP (draining eThekwini central business district and the Bluff).
  • Western Cape:
    • Levels at Zandvleit may be increasing – additional samples will be required to confirm this.
  • Northern Cape:
    • Levels in Calvinia appear to be increasing, but additional samples will be required to confirm this.
  • SARS-CoV-2 levels WWTPs from Nelson Mandela Metro and Buffalo City Metro in the Eastern Cape are low and stable.

Wastewater-based epidemiology for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in South Africa (week 46 2021)

Learn more about The Water Research Commission (WRC) here 

Wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 RNA is being undertaken by the South African medical research council (SA-MRC) at additional sites. Click here to view the results https://www.samrc.ac.za/wbe/