SAMRC finds sharp rise of Covid strain in wastewater

SAMRC finds sharp rise of Covid strain in wastewater

The South African Medical Research Council says there has been a sharp rise in concentrations of SARS-COV-2 RNA in wastewater in Cape Town and parts of the Western Cape.

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For the past two years the SAMRC has been operating a surveillance programme for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in more than 80 wastewater treatment plants across six provinces in the country.

In an effort to help track the pandemic in the country. 

"Over the past week the SAMRC Wastewater Surveillance team has measured concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Cape Town and parts of the Western Cape, that have not been observed for many months,” says SAMRC wastewater surveillance team’s Professor Angela Mathee.

"The increase in SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in our wastewater programme coincides with an increase in the proportion of positive COVID-19 tests recently reported by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases."

Mathee says there has also been an increase in parts of Limpopo.

"We saw that in a site in Limpopo Nkowankowa there was high increase in SARS-COV-2 concentrations in their local wastewater treatment plant and at the same time in Nelson Mandela Bay we saw that at about half of the plants there has been a week-on-week steady increase and those plants are above the level of concern.

"Over the next few weeks, it may be prudent for those at risk to revert to basic protective measures, such as avoiding, or wearing masks in, crowded indoor spaces or when caring for people who are ill, being fastidious about hand hygiene and keeping up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations or booster shots,” she adds.


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