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Sewage Surveillance Finds Spread in France

Testing of sewage in France suggests COVID-19 is spreading quickly in Lille, Marseille, and Strasbourg, Reuters reports.

A number of municipalities and even college campuses have turned to sewage testing to track where there may be an uptick in COVID-19 cases. For instance, Chicago has adopted the surveillance approach, as have Maryland, New Haven, Connecticut, and Carmel, Indiana, as well as the University of Arizona. The goal of testing, the Chicago Tribune noted at the time the Chicago effort was announced, is to home in on spots where an outbreak is imminent and prepare the healthcare system.

In France, the Obepine network monitors nearly 50 wastewater stations for signs of SARS-CoV-2, Reuters says. It reports that viral levels of samples from Lille, Marseille, and Strasbourg are reaching the levels they were at in early November, before the second lockdown. Viral levels in sewage from Paris, meanwhile, have been fairly steady, it says.

According to Reuters, Vincent Marechal, a Sorbonne virologist and co-founder of the Obepine network, says the findings indicate a more regional approach to handling SARS-CoV-2 may be needed.