"Excellent" against pandemic: medical officers call for wastewater analysis in all municipalities

According to the German medical officers, only 20 German cities have taken part in EU wastewater monitoring.

"Excellent" against pandemic: medical officers call for wastewater analysis in all municipalities

According to the German medical officers, only 20 German cities have taken part in EU wastewater monitoring. They are calling for a massive expansion. Using the example of the city of Cologne, they explain what that can bring. Federal Minister of Health Lauterbach also has the topic on his note.

In order to be able to better control the pandemic, the German medical officers are calling for wastewater analyzes to be extended to all municipalities: "The wastewater analysis is an excellent tool for pandemic control," said Johannes Nießen, chairman of the Federal Association of Public Health Physicians, to the newspapers of the Funk media group. So far, only 20 German cities have taken part in EU wastewater monitoring. "It would be ideal if all municipalities would take part," said Nießen. "The more cities that take part, the more precise our picture of the infection process becomes." The method costs little, the effort is low and you get a real-time picture of the pandemic situation.

In Cologne, it was determined in this way that only around half of the current corona reporting numbers were recorded. "The official incidence is currently around 800, but from the wastewater analysis we know that it is actually over 1500." With the wastewater analysis you get a more precise overview of "what is actually going on in the population". Nießen is head of the Cologne Health Department and a member of the German government’s Corona Expert Council.

In March 2021, the EU Commission asked the member states to use wastewater monitoring systematically to combat the corona pandemic. Because infected people excrete the virus through their stool, wastewater samples from sewage treatment plants can be used to quickly show where and to what extent which variant is spreading.

The wastewater analysis is not limited to the corona virus, according to Nießen: "In the future, the analysis could also be applied to other pathogens - such as polio or measles viruses."

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach also wants to rely on wastewater monitoring as a measure in the fight against the pandemic.

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