SARS-CoV-2 wastewater monitoring in Latvia

The Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment “BIOR” is analysing the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in Latvian municipalities wastewater.

Why are we monitoring wastewater?

The presence is examined by measuring the coronavirus RNA (genome) in untreated wastewater. An RNA test does not reveal anything about the viability or infectiousness of the virus – it simply indicates if the coronavirus is present in households connected to the sewer network. In addition, the wastewater samples are not examined to deduce who has the virus, but rather to simply measure the prevalence of the virus in the particular wastewater network area.

Wastewater monitoring can be used to detect changes in the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in different cities.

Results of monitoring

The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in untreated wastewater is reported weekly for the untreated wastewater in Riga, Liepaja, Jelgava, Jurmala, Rezekne, Ventspils, Valmiera, Jekabpils, Salaspils, Tukums and Daugavpils.  


How does wastewater monitoring works?

Wastewater 24-hour composite samples are collected twice-a-week and tested for the presence and number of RNA copies of SARS-CoV-2 virus to indicate if COVID-19 is increasing or decreasing in a specific municipality.

How can monitoring wastewater improve public health?

Wastewater monitoring can:

  • Provide a municipality-wide sample to help track trends in levels of the virus.
  • May serve as an early warning of increases in COVID-19 in communities.
  • Provide information that can help local municipalities to introduce appropriately mitigating strategies to limit COVID-19 spread.