Utilization of SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance in Africa-A Rapid Review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jan 15;19(2):969. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19020969.


Wastewater-based epidemiology for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in wastewater is desirable for understanding COVID-19 in settings where financial resources and diagnostic facilities for mass individual testing are severely limited. We conducted a rapid review to map research evidence on the utilization of SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance in Africa. We searched PubMed, Google Scholar, and the World Health Organization library databases for relevant reports, reviews, and primary observational studies. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria. Narrative synthesis of the findings from included primary studies revealed the testing methodologies utilized and that detected amount of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA correlated with the number of new cases in the studied areas. The included reviews revealed the epidemiological significance and environmental risks of SARS-CoV-2 wastewater. Wastewater surveillance data at the community level can be leveraged for the rapid assessment of emerging threats and aid pandemic preparedness. Our rapid review revealed a glaring gap in the primary literature on SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance on the continent, and accelerated and adequate investment into research is urgently needed to address this gap.

Keywords: Africa; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; surveillance; wastewater.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Wastewater
  • Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring


  • RNA, Viral
  • Waste Water