Temporal Variation of SARS-CoV-2 Levels in Wastewater from a Meat Processing Plant. Academic Article uri icon


  • Wastewater-based surveillance (WBS) on SARS-CoV-2 has been proved to be an effective approach to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities and cities. However, its application was overlooked at smaller scale, such as a single facility. Meat processing plants are hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks due to their unique environment that are favorable for the survival and persistence of SARS-CoV-2. This is the first known WBS study in meat processing plants. The goal was to understand the temporal variation of the SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater from a meat processing plant in Canada during a three-month campaign and to find any correlation with clinically confirmed cases in the surrounding city area. Higher SARS-CoV-2 concentrations and detection frequencies were observed in the solid fraction compared to the liquid fraction of the wastewater. The viruses can be preserved in the solid fraction of wastewater for up to 12 days. The wastewater virus level did not correlate to the city-wide COVID-19 cases due to the unmatching scales. WBS on SARS-CoV-2 in meat processing plants can be useful for identifying COVID-19 outbreaks in the facility and serve as an effective alternative when resources for routine individual testing are not available.

published proceedings

  • Microorganisms

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, M., & King, M. D.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Meiyi||King, Maria D

publication date

  • January 2023