1921
Volume 103, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645

Abstract

Abstract.

SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19, is shed in stool. SARS coronaviruses have been detected in wastewater during outbreaks in China, Europe, and the United States. In this perspective, we outline the risk fecal shedding poses at locations without safely managed sanitation, as in most of Nigeria where we work. We believe that feco-oral transmission could occur if community transmission becomes high and sustained in densely populated cities without proper sanitation in Nigeria and many other African and Asian settings. In the absence of basic sanitation, or where existing sanitation is not safely managed, groundwater, which is often drawn up from wells and boreholes for drinking and household use, can become contaminated with enteric bacteria and viruses from fecal matter. Endemic and epidemic transmission of multiple feco-oral pathogens via this route continues to be documented in areas without safely managed sanitation, and, therefore, the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission needs to be evaluated, tracked, and forestalled in such settings. We suggest that fecal matter from treatment facilities and recovered patients should be carefully and properly disposed. Furthermore, environmental surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and accumulated human waste, as well as efforts to mitigate the virus’ entry into unprotected household water sources, should be a priority part of the COVID-19 response in settings without safely managed sanitation for the duration of the pandemic.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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  • Received : 12 May 2020
  • Accepted : 29 May 2020
  • Published online : 09 Jun 2020
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