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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021

COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance in a College Dormitory Setting

Leah Hujik

Sophomore, Biology

Abstract

In the attempt to safely bring college students back to college campuses for fall 2020, a number of monitoring techniques were employed across the United States. One early warning surveillance technique employed by a number of colleges was the monitoring of dormitory wastewater for COVID-19. Wastewater is a monitoring medium that has been used for a number of studies ranging from illicit drug and antibiotic use to usage rates of artificial sweetener use. Wastewater may be a good source of early detection for COVID-19 due to the fact that infected individuals shed virus in feces up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. Each dormitory at UW Oshkosh has centralized wastewater collection and discharge to the sanitary sewers facilitating the sampling of individual dorms. This allows the identification of infections prior to the onset of symptoms in individuals living in each dormitory. Observation of elevated concentrations of COVID-19 found in a wastewater stream allows for targeted testing of dormitory residents to identify infected individuals before they cause a wider outbreak. In compact living environments, early detection, quarantine, and isolation is key to preventing larger outbreaks.

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4 Comments

  1. Timothy Paulsen

    Good job Leah. Interesting work.

    Reply
  2. Hailey Dehnert

    Hi Leah, this was an exceptional video presentation!! The progression of thought was so thorough and informative . Although I personally have not experienced Covid-19, this research is a creative way of tracking and evaluating its presence throughout campus. It was great to watch the research unfold.
    Thank you for sharing your work :)))

    Reply
  3. Jen

    Nice job Leah! I didn’t realize you have been collecting water samples since September! You put a lot of great effort into this study and your presentation.

    Reply
  4. Dubear Kroening

    Really cool monitoring to help out during a pandemic! It seems like a lot of work and the results are very important. Thank you for presenting this, I enjoyed learning more about how it was done.

    Reply

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