High Sensitivity and Specificity of Dormitory-Level Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19 during Fall Semester 2020 at Syracuse University, New York

Alex Godinez, Dustin Hill, Bryan Dandaraw, Hyatt Green, Pruthvi Kilaru, Frank Middleton, Sythong Run, Brittany L. Kmush, David A. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A residential building’s wastewater presents a potential non-invasive method of surveilling numerous infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2. We analyzed wastewater from 16 different residential locations at Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY, USA) during fall semester 2020, testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA twice weekly and compared the presence of clinical COVID-19 cases to detection of the viral RNA in wastewater. The sensitivity of wastewater surveillance to correctly identify dormitories with a case of COVID-19 ranged from 95% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 76–100%) on the same day as the case was diagnosed to 73% (95% CI = 53–92%), with 7 days lead time of wastewater. The positive predictive value ranged from 20% (95% CI = 13–30%) on the same day as the case was diagnosed to 50% (95% CI = 40–60%) with 7 days lead time. The specificity of wastewater surveillance to correctly identify dormitories without a case of COVID-19 ranged from 60% (95% CI = 52–67%) on the day of the wastewater sample to 67% (95% CI = 58–74%) with 7 days lead time. The negative predictive value ranged from 99% (95% CI = 95–100%) on the day of the wastewater sample to 84% (95% CI = 77–91%) with 7 days lead time. Wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 at the building level is highly accurate in determining if residents have a COVID-19 infection. Particular benefit is derived from negative wastewater results that can confirm a building is COVID-19 free.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4851
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • college dormitories
  • residence halls
  • sensitivity analysis
  • specificity analysis
  • wastewater surveillance
  • wastewater-based epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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