NEW YORK — Philadelphia and Oakland County, Michigan have joined a short list of US cities looking for signs of polio infection in wastewater, US health officials said Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said communities will test wastewater for polio for at least four months. New York state communities began testing earlier this year after a man was diagnosed with paralytic polio outside New York City.
CDC officials say they are also talking to other communities about starting to test wastewater for polio. They focused on cities and counties with low polio vaccination coverage and where travelers visited New York communities where polio was found.
Officials say identifying the virus in wastewater could help a city or county speed up and target vaccination campaigns.
Health authorities around the world have used wastewater to track outbreaks of COVID-19. The CDC is currently receiving wastewater sampling data for the coronavirus from all 50 states. This year, commercial laboratories began testing wastewater for mpox, formerly known as monkeypox.
Next year, health officials in Houston and Colorado plan to start testing wastewater for antibiotic-resistant germs, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, norovirus and various other health threats, including other bugs. CDC officials said if the pilot goes well, wider testing will begin in other parts of the country.