National Wastewater Surveillance Programme

A National Wastewater Surveillance Programme has been developed by a specialist team, with input from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), the HSE, the Health Intelligence Unit, the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL), UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, and Uisce Éireann.

This wastewater surveillance programme is an important part of the work being undertaken to monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities across Ireland. The programme measures the level of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater within 30 wastewater catchment areas across the country and will effectively operate as an early warning system for possible future waves of COVID-19 infection. More information...

Introduction of poliovirus testing
Wastewater surveillance for poliovirus testing commenced in Ireland in February 2023. It is currently undertaken in the Ringsend catchment area, which as previously mentioned is the largest wastewater catchment area in Ireland. Wastewater testing for poliovirus has been well-established tool for poliovirus surveillance and outbreak response in several countries, with many countries now using wastewater surveillance systems established for SARS-CoV-2 monitoring to introduce it. An alert was sounded by the UK after the polio virus was seen in sewage samples across London (1). A clinical case was identified in New York in 2022 (2). These detections highlighted the need for ongoing efforts to strengthen poliovirus surveillance in Ireland.

Currently, the focus is on PV2, based upon recent detections elsewhere of cVDPV2. Additional catchment areas and poliovirus types may be added over the coming months.

  1. Klapsa D., Wilton T., Zealand A., Bujaki E., Saxentoff E., Troman C., Shaw A.G., Tedcastle A., Majumdar M., Mate R., et al. Sustained detection of type 2 poliovirus in London sewage between February and July, 2022, by enhanced environmental surveillance. Lancet. 2022;400:1531–1538. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01804-9.
  2. Link-Gelles R, Lutterloh E, Schnabel Ruppert P, et al. Public Health Response to a Case of Paralytic Poliomyelitis in an Unvaccinated Person and Detection of Poliovirus in Wastewater — New York, June–August 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1065-1068. DOI:

Surveillance Reports