Research is indicating that sewage can help reveal trends in pandemic virus outbreaks, and health officials are taking note.
Genetic material from the virus can be found in the stools of many infected people, so the collected waste from a community's bathrooms can be sampled at wastewater treatment plants to measure that signal.
Researchers say the results can't yet reliably indicate how many infected people live in a community, but they can indicate if that number is rising or falling. And that indication can arrive days before such trends show up by standard testing or hospitalizations.
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