Wastewater based epidemiology

Successes, challenges and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Thu 12 May 22

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Mariachiara Di Cesare

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Life Sciences, School of

  • Contact details

    Leonard Schalkwyk

Please note that this event is now only taking place on Zoom (link below).

Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) has been identified as a powerful tool to monitor the occurrence and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the population and to enable the early identification of local outbreaks.

Data at a local community level have the potential to proactively inform public health-care strategies and mitigate escalating demands on health-care providers.

However, monitoring levels at wastewater treatment plant level does not allow the identification of specific groups of the population, limiting its epidemiological value for managing COVID-19 and breaking chains of transmission. More recently, the wastewater-based epidemiology approach has been successfully used for near-source tracking (NST).

The talk will provide an overview of the this approach, from implementation to data analysis, specific to the application of WBE in schools and prisons and the potential to create a surveillance system based on sentinel sites.


Chiara’s work has focused on the epidemiology and public health of obesity and undernutrition, the role of early nutrition on child development, whether, and how much, changes in metabolic risk factors have contributed to the decline in cardiovascular mortality, and the extent of within and between countries inequalities in non‐communicable diseases mortality and associated risk factors.

Over the past two years she has led a pilot study for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance in schools and prisons supported by the Department of Health and Social Care. Her research on global trends in obesity is used by the World Health Organisation as official country estimates. In 2018 she led the successful application to the WHO Essential Medicine List for the inclusion of non-vitamin K anticoagulants for the treatment of atrial fibrillation to prevent stroke.

Chiara is currently a member of the core team of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, leading the data update, and a member of the World Heart Federation Observatory Advisory Group sharing her expertise in metabolic risk factors and health data analytics. She is also the Director of the Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing at the University of Essex.

How to attend

This seminar is being held in on Zoom (meeting ID: 925 4561 0277).

If you have any queries about this seminar please email Professor Leonard Schalkwyk (lschal@essex.ac.uk).

Please note that this seminar is no longer being held in person.

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