The presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA in wastewater has been reported as a result of fecal shedding of infected individuals. In this study, the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was explored in primary-treated wastewater from two municipal wastewater treatment plants in Quintana Roo, Mexico, along with groundwater from sinkholes, a household well, and submarine groundwater discharges. Physicochemical variables were obtained in situ, and coliphage densities were determined. Three virus concentration methods based on adsorption-elution and sequential filtration were used followed by RNA isolation. Quantification of SARS-CoV-2 was done by RT-qPCR using the CDC 2020 assay, 2019-nCoV_N1 and 2019-nCoV_N2. The Pepper mild mottle virus, one of the most abundant RNA viruses in wastewater was quantified by RT-qPCR and compared to SARS-CoV-2 concentrations. The use of three combined virus concentration methods together with two qPCR assays allowed the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 58% of the wastewater samples analyzed, whereas none of the groundwater samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater were from 1.8 × 103 to 7.5 × 103 genome copies per liter (GC l−1), using the N1 RT-qPCR assay, and from 2.4 × 102 to 5.9 × 103 GC l−1 using the N2 RT-qPCR assay. Based on PMMoV prevalence detected in all wastewater and groundwater samples tested, the three viral concentration methods used could be successfully applied for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in further studies. This study represents the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater in southeast Mexico and provides a baseline for developing a wastewater-based epidemiology approach in the area.
- Viral indicators
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis