Monitoring human arboviral diseases through wastewater surveillance: Challenges, progress and future opportunities

Wei Lin Lee, Xiaoqiong Gu, Federica Armas, Mats Leifels, Fuqing Wu, Franciscus Chandra, Feng Jun Desmond Chua, Ayesa Syenina, Hongjie Chen, Dan Cheng, Eng Eong Ooi, Stefan Wuertz, Eric J Alm, Janelle Thompson

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Review article

22 Citations (Scopus)


Arboviral diseases are caused by a group of viruses spread by the bite of infected arthropods. Amongst these, dengue, Zika, west nile fever and yellow fever cause the greatest economic and social impact. Arboviral epidemics have increased in frequency, magnitude and geographical extent over the past decades and are expected to continue increasing with climate change and expanding urbanisation. Arboviral prevalence is largely underestimated, as most infections are asymptomatic, nevertheless existing surveillance systems are based on passive reporting of loosely defined clinical syndromes with infrequent laboratory confirmation. Wastewater-based surveillance (WBS), which has been demonstrated to be useful for monitoring diseases with significant asymptomatic populations including COVID19 and polio, could be a useful complement to arboviral surveillance. We review the current state of knowledge and identify key factors that affect the feasibility of monitoring arboviral diseases by WBS to include viral shedding loads by infected persons, the persistence of shed arboviruses and the efficiency of their recovery from sewage. We provide a simple model on the volume of wastewater that needs to be processed for detection of arboviruses, in face of lower arboviral shedding rates. In all, this review serves to reflect on the key challenges that need to be addressed and overcome for successful implementation of arboviral WBS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118904
Pages (from-to)118904
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbovirus Infections/diagnosis
  • Arboviruses
  • COVID-19
  • Humans
  • Sewage
  • Wastewater
  • Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Zika Virus
  • Zika Virus Infection/diagnosis


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