Bacterial Monitoring Workshop

April 20, 2023

There have been numerous pushes to broaden the focus of wastewater surveillance efforts implemented for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to include additional targets, including bacteria. However, bacterial monitoring has distinct methodological limitations. The goal of this workshop is to identify questions unique to bacterial wastewater surveillance and discuss challenges and successes in implementing bacterial monitoring programs for public health guidance.

Recording for the workshop

Session 1: Panel Discussion

  • Kara B. De Leon, Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma, talked about considerations for concentration and partitioning
  • Rachel Noble, Professor at the University of North Carolina, talked about antimicrobial resistance
  • Nicolette Zhou, Research Scientist at the University of Washington, talked about S. Typhi surveillance

Following the panel discussion and Q&A, participants were asked to move into breakout rooms to discuss their approaches.

Session 2: Breakout Rooms

Participants were asked to talk about their experiences with bacterial monitoring in wastewater including:

  • Specific bacterial targets
  • Methods used (concentration and extraction, detection protocols, etc.)
  • Goals of the programs

They were also asked to highlight the challenges and barriers for bacterial monitoring and what information is needed to overcome those barriers. There were numerous discussions about how to interpret results from bacterial monitoring programs, process control organisms and normalization targets, methodological changes needed, and the ethics of looking for new targets.