CEE Seminar (Zoom): Wastewater Surveillance of Microbial Infectious Diseases - Lessons Learned from Salmonellosis and COVID-19

Tao Yan
ZOOM link will be distributed by the CEE Department
Tao Yan, Ph.D.

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Abstract: Municipal wastewater systems, including collection and treatment systems, play a critical role in public health protection by safely collecting, treating and disposing of human wastes. The fact that the sanitary sewer systems collect wastewater from individual households of a community to centralized locations also provides an unparalleled sampling platform for the detection and understanding of community health issues and problems. This talk will discuss lessons learned from previous studies that explored the potential of wastewater surveillance in achieving synchronous detection of Salmonella strains in wastewater and clinics, detection of a clinically unreported Salmonellosis outbreak, and genomic understanding of a specific group of subclinical Salmonella strains. Ongoing efforts on using wastewater for the surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic will also be discussed, including the fine-scale temporal dynamics of the COVID-19 virus concentration in Honolulu wastewater during a public health lockdown, quantification issues and opportunities in the complex wastewater matrix, and potential public health applications.

Bio: Tao Yan is a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research interests are in the areas of environmental microbiology, microbial ecology and environmental biotechnology. Recent research has mainly focused on microbiological quality of environmental and drinking water, impact of stormwater runoff on coastal water quality, wastewater infrastructure sustainability issues (e.g. sewer crown corrosion, infiltration and inflow), bacterial antibiotic resistance in the environment, novel methods for detection and quantification of microbial risks in the environment, and an expanded role of water infrastructures in public health protection.