WERF to start new studies addressing Ebola, antibiotic resistance challenges

June 3, 2015
In light of concerns about Ebola risks to water resource recovery facility operators and workers, the Water Environment Research Foundation has announced that it will begin new studies addressing Ebola and antibiotic resistance challenges.

ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 3, 2015 -- The Ebola outbreak has prompted concern about risks to water resource recovery facility (WRRF) operators and workers who may potentially be exposed to these and other newly emerging and or/re-emerging pathogens of concern. As such, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) has announced that it will begin new studies addressing Ebola and antibiotic resistance (AR) challenges.

The first project, "Protecting Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators from Emerging Pathogens: A Preparedness Protocol and On-Line Decision Support Tool (WERF3C15)," conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will develop an integrated preparedness protocol and decision support tool to guide WRRF operators and public health policymakers to prepare for potential risks of emerging pathogens conveyed in wastewater. The result of this study will equip the wastewater sector to be better informed and prepared based on the estimated levels of risk from the emerging pathogen of concern by using advanced but user-friendly decision support tools.

The second project, "Occurrence, Proliferation, and Persistence of Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance During Wastewater Treatment (WERF1C15)," is in response to a 2000 World Health Organization report identifying AR as a critical human health challenge for the next century and heralded the need for "a global strategy to contain resistance." The research team from the University of Las Vegas will identify the major source(s) of wastewater-derived AR (i.e., raw sewage); determine the treatment conditions that promote AR development or reduce its prevalence; and characterize the persistence of AR in the environment. Ultimately, this knowledge will assist in developing mitigation strategies and potentially alleviate environmental and public health concerns.

See also:

"Addressing Ebola Concerns, Worker Safety"

"Coalition launches new water treatment facility in Liberia to combat Ebola"

About WERF

The Water Environment Research Foundation is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater questions. LIFT is moving innovation into practice by allowing providers to introduce their emerging, pre-commercial, and newly commercialized technologies to funders, advisors, and end users. For more information, visit www.werf.org.


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