COVID Sewage Tracing Labs Take to Monkeypox

Labs tracing COVID-19 via sewage are now testing their methodology on monkeypox, NPR reports.

Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network, or SCAN, is expanding its wastewater monitoring techniques to detect monkeypox. Since mid-June, SCAN has seen monkeypox in several Northern California sewers, including Palo Alto, San Jose, Gilroy, Sacramento, and San Francisco.

Last week, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency after health officials reached similar conclusions in California, Illinois, and New York.

In May, United Kingdom Health officials signaled¬†a monkeypox outbreak. It prompted speculation that the virus may shed into wastewater either through feces or when an infected person with an open wound takes a shower. Sewage testing can add early alarms or “light up” warnings when the virus sheds into wastewater.

And according to Brad Pollock, the chair of public health sciences at UC Davis Health, “it did light up. [Sewage testing] acts as a warning system, and you don’t have to persuade people to take individual tests in order to use the information; it’s collected passively, so you get a more broad community look.”

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