PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia and Oakland County, Michigan, join a small list of areas in the United States looking for signs of polio transmission in sewage, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said communities will test sewage for polio for at least four months. A community in New York State began testing earlier this year after a man was diagnosed with paralytic polio outside New York City.
CDC officials say they are in discussions with other communities about starting to test wastewater for polio. It focuses on cities and counties with low polio immunization rates and where travelers have visited New York communities where polio has been found.
Officials say identifying the virus in sewage will help cities and counties accelerate and target vaccination campaigns.
Health authorities around the world are using wastewater to track COVID-19 outbreaks. CDC is now receiving coronavirus wastewater sampling data from all 50 states. This year, commercial laboratories began testing wastewater for mpox, formerly known as monkeypox.
Next year, Houston and Colorado health officials plan to test sewage for several other health threats, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, norovirus, and other bugs. If the pilot is successful, broader testing will be rolled out to other parts of the country, CDC officials said.
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