Two more more cities will test sewage for polio; Colorado to start germ testing in 2023

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FILE – Ryan Dupont, Utah State University Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, collects sewage samples from the dorms at Utah State University Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Logan, Utah, to test for COVID-19. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Philadelphia and Oakland County, Mich., will test for polio in sewage for at least four months. Communities in New York state began testing earlier this year after a man was diagnosed with paralytic polio outside New York City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

NEW YORK | Philadelphia and Oakland County, Michigan, are joining the small list of U.S. localities that are looking for signs of polio infections in sewage, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the communities will test for polio in sewage for at least four months. Communities in New York state began testing earlier this year after a man was diagnosed with paralytic polio outside New York City.

Next year, health officials in Houston and Colorado plan to begin testing sewage for several other health threats, including germs with antibiotic resistance, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, norovirus and other bugs. If the pilot goes well, the wider testing will be rolled out to other parts of the country, CDC officials said

CDC officials say they have been talking with other communities about also starting polio wastewater testing. They are focused on cities and counties with low polio vaccination coverage and those in which travelers had visited the New York communities where polio was found.

Officials say identifying the virus in sewage can help a city or county accelerate and target vaccination campaigns.

Health officials around the world have used wastewater to track COVID-19 outbreaks. The CDC currently is receiving wastewater sampling data for the coronavirus from all 50 states. This year, commercial laboratories began testing wastewater for mpox, previously known as monkeypox.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

 

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