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2024-5-20 14:35:36


Nadeau S, Devaux AJ, Bagutti C, Alt M, Ilg Hampe E. Influenza transmission dynamics quantified from RNA in wastewater in Switzerland. Swiss Med Wkly. 2024 Jan 3;154:3503
submited by kickingbird at Apr, 6, 2024 8:22 AM from Swiss Med Wkly. 2024 Jan 3;154:3503

Introduction: Influenza infections are challenging to monitor at the population level due to many mild and asymptomatic cases and similar symptoms to other common circulating respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Methods for tracking cases outside of typical reporting infrastructure could improve monitoring of influenza transmission dynamics. Influenza shedding into wastewater represents a promising source of information where quantification is unbiased by testing or treatment-seeking behaviours.

Methods: We quantified influenza A and B virus loads from influent at Switzerland´s three largest wastewater treatment plants, serving about 14% of the Swiss population (1.2 million individuals). We estimated trends in infection incidence and the effective reproductive number (Re) in these catchments during a 2021/22 epidemic and compared our estimates to typical influenza surveillance data.

Results: Wastewater data captured the same overall trends in infection incidence as laboratory-confirmed case data at the catchment level. However, the wastewater data were more sensitive in capturing a transient peak in incidence in December 2021 than the case data. The Re estimated from the wastewater data was roughly at or below the epidemic threshold of 1 during work-from-home measures in December 2021 but increased to at or above the epidemic threshold in two of the three catchments after the relaxation of these measures. The third catchment yielded qualitatively the same results but with wider confidence intervals. The confirmed case data at the catchment level yielded comparatively less precise R_e estimates before and during the work-from-home period, with confidence intervals that included one before and during the work-from-home period.

Discussion: Overall, we show that influenza RNA in wastewater can help monitor nationwide influenza transmission dynamics. Based on this research, we developed an online dashboard for ongoing wastewater-based influenza surveillance in Switzerland.

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