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Wastewater-based epidemiology of Campylobacter spp.: A systematic review and meta-analysis of influent, effluent, and removal of wastewater treatment plants


  • Zhang, Shuxin
  • Shi, Jiahua
  • Li, Xuan
  • Tiwari, Ananda
  • Gao, Shuhong
  • Zhou, Xu
  • Sun, Xiaoyan
  • O'Brien, Jake W.
  • Coin, Lachlan
  • Hai, Faisal
  • Jiang, Guangming


Science of The Total Environment, Volume 903, 2023-12-10

Article Link: Click here

Campylobacter spp. is one of the four leading causes of diarrhoeal diseases worldwide, which are generally mild but can be fatal in children, the elderly, and immunosuppressed persons. The existing disease surveillance for Campylobacter infections is usually based on untimely clinical reports. Wastewater surveillance or wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) has been developed for the early warning of disease outbreaks and the detection of the emerging new variants of human pathogens, especially after the global pandemic of COVID-19. However, the WBE monitoring of Campylobacter infections in communities is rare due to a few large data gaps. This study is a meta-analysis and systematic review of the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in various wastewater samples, primarily the influent of wastewater treatment plants. The results showed that the overall prevalence of Campylobacter spp. was 53.26 % in influent wastewater and 52.97 % in all types of wastewater samples. The mean concentration in the influent was 3.31 ± 0.39 log10 gene copies or most probable number (MPN) per 100 mL. The detection method combining culture and PCR yielded the highest positive rate of 90.86 %, while RT-qPCR and qPCR were the two most frequently used quantification methods. In addition, the Campylobacter concentration in influent wastewater showed a seasonal fluctuation, with the highest concentration in the autumn at 3.46 ± 0.41 log10 gene copies or MPN per 100 mL. Based on the isolates of all positive samples, Campylobacter jejuni (62.34 %) was identified as the most prevalent species in wastewater, followed by Campylobacter coli (30.85 %) and Campylobacter lari (4.4 %). These findings provided significant data to further develop and optimize the wastewater surveillance of Campylobacter spp. infections. In addition, large data gaps were found in the decay of Campylobacter spp. in wastewater, indicating insufficient research on the persistence of Campylobacter spp. in wastewater.