National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Releases Report on Wastewater-Based Disease Surveillance

NASEM released a consensus study report, Wastewater-based Disease Surveillance for Public Health Action, on January 19, 2023. At the request of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a committee of experts was assembled by NASEM to review the current utility of community-level wastewater surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential for the control and prevention of other infectious diseases. This first report summarizes the findings from Phase 1 of the committee’s review on how wastewater surveillance has been a helpful tool to understand COVID-19 in communities and to inform local public health decision-making. The committee concluded that wastewater surveillance has been, and will continue to be, a valuable component of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovation in wastewater surveillance systems spurred by the pandemic provides a look into a future where such systems can be used for infectious diseases beyond COVID-19. The Phase 2 report of this study, estimated to be released in 2024, will provide a detailed technical evaluation and needs assessment for the national wastewater surveillance program.