Scientists have warned that coronavirus has been discovered in the city’s water system prompting an early warning detection system to put in place.
The Dutch scientists found genetic material from coronavirus at Amersfoot, wastewater treatment plant, near to Amsterdam on 5 March.
Coronavirus was already in the water system on the 5 March, before the Netherlands had any confirmed cases, as the first case was confirmed on 27 February.
Professor Gertjan Medema, of the KWR Water Research Institute, said traces of coronavirus is often found in human waste of those infected by the disease, making it an ideal detection mechanism.
He said, “It is important to collect information about the occurrence and fate of this new virus in sewage to understand if there is no risk to sewage workers, but also to determine if sewage surveillance could be used to monitor the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in our communities.
“That could complement current clinical surveillance, which is limited to the COVID-19 patients with the most severe symptoms.”
This is the first known discovery of coronavirus in sewage.
A group of Professor Medema’s colleagues said, “The detection of the virus in sewage, even when the COVID-19 prevalence is low, indicates that sewage surveillance could be a sensitive tool to monitor the circulation of the virus in the population.”
The Netherlands currently has 13,696 confirmed cases with 1,175 deaths. The country has had a total of 260 people fully recover.
As the number of cases of coronavirus grow, the detection of coronavirus in the sewage system also grew.
The Professor said, “The emergence of the epidemic in the Netherlands provides compelling evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is detected in sewage.”
Adding, “Sewage surveillance could be used to monitor the circulation of the virus in the population and as early warning tool for increased circulation in the coming winter or unaffected populations.”