We’re beginning to get our sh*t together… with ‘Sewage Epidemiology.’

from Mark's Children's Book series about loos and no. 2s
Image copyright | Hendriksen & Hopson [illustration from the children’s book ‘It’s all about Poo.’]

Most people are aware of what a healthy poop should look like and how it can signal or warn of potential health problems. Taking a look at your daily motion is stage one, then if necessary, with poo samples doctors and scientists take that a stage further by providing detailed analysis of our health and wellbeing. But, until now, few of us had known that our collective poop can show a lot about the health of a community and in doing so help track and trace the likes of coronavirus and other diseases. We touched on the subject of testing in sewers a while back – now it’s among the weekly headlines we’ll go deeper into, ‘How sewage analysis can help track, trace and protect against viruses.’

Following on from an article on May 3rd in The Guardian, ‘Sensor taps and no door handles: Covid-19 shows it’s time to rethink public toilets.’ We got in touch with Maria Centracchio to a) to compliment her on her piece and expand on future challenges for public toilets, and b) to mention ‘the onward journey’ from public toilets in regards to another article where, “The Guardian had reported that scientists are researching how sampling our stools could offer a faster and cheaper way to pinpoint where outbreaks of COVID-19 are brewing before scores of people become seriously ill, either by tracking or detecting remnants of the virus in municipal sewage.

No sooner had I posted my reply to Maria when my (Dutch) wife popped into my office to show me where virus tests can be done without testing people directly in this explanatory video from nu.nl in The Netherlands. The accompanying dialogue basically translates as… “Why they are looking at your stool for traces of coronavirus. The coronavirus has been found in our sewers. But why are we specifically diving into our sewage to find it?‘ You can check out the video here. Interestingly, research out of The Netherlands has shown that the virus’ genetic material, or RNA [RNA is one of the three major biological macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life, along with DNA and proteins] can be detected in wastewater (faecal matter) as much as two weeks before the first diagnosis of a sick patient by a doctor.

However, wastewater testing per sae is nothing new as it has been used for drug testing for some while. This can be seen, for example, in the work of The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. But with COVID-19 the breadth of testing via wastewater has stepped up. An article from Applied and Environmental Microbiology illustrates how much research and potential this type of analysis holds, (provided courtesy of the American Society for Microbiology [ASM] and released back in 2014) ‘Detection of Pathogenic Viruses in Sewage Provided Early Warnings of Hepatitis A Virus and Norovirus Outbreaks.’ In fact it might beggar the question as to why governments appear not to have picked up on this somewhat earlier. Nevertheless, to get under the lid of just how impactful wastewater testing may potentially be, take a look at the media links on BioBotGlobal leaders in wastewater epidemiology, whose mission is to transform wastewater infrastructure into public health observatories, where millions of dollars are being invested to establish just how effective this particular type of test could be.

Sewage epidemiology is now being used around the world, and although The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that the ‘COVID-19 virus, does not readily spread through sewage and wastewater systems. But like other microbes, non-infectious genetic residues of the virus can remain in wastewater systems in the locations where infected people go to the toilet. Add the work of other major organisations into the mix, such as The Water Research Foundation who held a summit on ‘Environmental Surveillance of COVID-19 Indicators in Sewersheds’ at the end of April. Then also the numerous universities around the world and you get a growing list of researchers in The NetherlandsFranceThe USA and Australia who have been testing sewage for SARS-CoV-2 for over a month now, and generally reported that the rise and fall of their results reflect officially reported local rates of infection with COVID-19.

Another resource is The Toilet Board Coalition, ‘The Toilet Board Coalition has expanded its reach to proactively call for catalysing innovations and new business models that fill the gaps needed to leapfrog to next generation sanitation systems.’ As mentioned above, using sewage to detect viruses like COVID-19 as early as possible is gathering increased interest as the chart below [copyright Toilet Board Coalition] helps to illustrate.

The important point in all this is the more studies that take place, the closer we may be to finding a truly effective way of making the difference we all seek with a new weapon against COVID-19. As part of next week’s post, we’ll look at how human faeces is being used for health, fertilizer, fuel and even ‘sh*tting bricks,’ plus get back up to date on the latest news on loos and no. 2s here at, ‘The Daily Poo!’

Patents Pending, Children’s Books & latest news on no. 2s & loos from ‘The Daily Poo!’

Urimat | Odourless eco-friendly urinals that don’t use water!

Why the photo above? Well, it may be a subject that not many are aware of but mens urinals really don’t need to be as awful as they tend to be (read more in article 6. below). Then there’s a beauty treatment for women and some great bathroom ideas too…

Meanwhile, while we’ve been working with Albright IP to date, we’ve also now engaged the Wayfair Group to work with our patents pending and licensing of our aesthetic bathroom designs to improve posture, health and wellbeing. In addition, the third book in our series for children, about loos, poo and toilet talk are humorous educational books – now about to go back out to publishers via our agency Jon Fowler Media.

In other news… our weekly line up of articles, news and views on all that’s happening in the smallest room and around the globe. People often discuss or illustrate the Bristol Stool Chart, i.e. what the colour and shape of your no. 2s represents, but seldom do the charts advise what the various types mean… so here’s wikimedia’s more helpful version to explain!

wikimedia | cabot health
  1. BigGreenSmile.com suggest s few ways to cut down on plastics and reduce waste in your bathroom
  2. We were so impressed… we bought one! The FlushBrush offers a brilliant alternative to the toilet brush, you know the one that’s moved on slightly since the Romans ‘grabbed the shitty end of the stick!’ Mothers Day? Fathers Day? Any day? Yep, see the video and be sure to get one for when the shit hits the pan.
  3. We often talk about the Bidet and wash vs wipe as we get to the bottom of everything to do with bottoms and toilets. Here’s an insightful article in HowStuffWorks by Jesslyn Shields, ‘Getting to the Bottom of the Bidet.’
  4. A thought from ‘The Daily Poo!‘ No need to stock up on toilet paper if you’re fearing the approach of coronavirus, get a bidet attachment instead! Take this one for example… TUSHY
  5. Here at ‘The Daily Poo!‘ we’ve often considered the possible solutions for those left over toilet roll cores, and some while ago discovered the Lotus’ Biodegradable Flush&Go tubes‘ (see image below.) This seemingly brilliant idea doesn’t appear to have gone as mainstream as we’d thought, Kimberly-Clark created & patented core-less rolls, but the question and challenge still remains – how to cut down on the cores and get the public’s behind, behind this idea? Emily Flitter writes for The New York Times ‘My Tireless Quest for a Tubeless Wipe’ and it’s worth a read.
  6. For the male contingent… Urinals: Ever been in one of the ‘Portaloos’ [Portable Toilets] at concerts, speech days or any events for that matter – and thought, ‘this is so smelly and awful why can’t they figure’ – then actually there is an answer, but it’s not been widely adopted in spite of being ecological, water saving and odourless!! Start campaigning + Here is the answer Urimat or Uridan are brilliant examples. Here’s the 5 reasons for the stink, ‘pinch your nose and read on’; urine leftovers on the floor or wall, dry floor drains, floor joints and corner odours, insufficient room ventilation & maintenance failure.
  7. For the female contingent… Bird poop is not just a symbol of good luck, is it also a beauty elixir… Here’s why! + Some other unusual sounding Asian beauty treatments, by Naressa Khan for Style.
  8. For everyone [maybe] Zeltini studio’s wooden ‘temple of poop‘ is a compost concept and taking ‘a poo with a view’, DesignBoom explains its design and function.

To finish up, a heads up (or bottoms down) on World Water Day#WorldWaterDay is a month away so we’ll focus more on water around that time, and its importance in sanitation. Also, how ‘waterless’ sanitation has similar benefits by saving water which can then be used elsewhere. Next week, the usual round up on what’s happening in the world of poop & no. 2s, in ‘The Daily Poo!‘ We also have a facebook and instagram site appearing shortly too.

Lotus | Biodegradeable Aqua Tube TM & copyright Lotus