Project Details


A pilot study for “real-time” surveillance of very large human populations and risk based urban water management based on complete DNA-sequencing of sewage samples.
Novel or re-emerging infectious agents are often not detected before they have emerged and spread locally and globally. Rapid detection and identification is essential in both crisis detection and prevention. Especially the challenge of monitoring the large healthy human populations is a so far completely unsolved challenge. An increasing part of the world’s population is connected to a sewage system. This have prompted attempt to perform surveillance for a few selected health risks, but has also proven tremendous complicated and technologically demanding because of the need to look for so many different agents. Recent developments in sequencing technologies have now made it technologically feasible to sequence sufficient amounts in a short time and thereby make this available for completely novel applications. This may completely change the paradigm of microbiological surveillance and control and for the first time in history make it possibly to monitor healthy populations and not only the sentinel or sick populations.
Treatment of waste water has greatly reduced the burden of infectious disease and reduced discharges to the environment. However, discharges from waste water treatment plants and sewer overflows still pose a significant health risk, but the estimation hereof are hampered by insufficient knowledge of pathogen concentrations, making the urban water management inefficient. Todays new sequence technologies offer an unprecedented source of information related to waste water related health risks.
Effective start/end date30/05/201329/05/2017

Collaborative partners


  • Villum Fonden