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Austin Public Health could soon test wastewater for influenza, RSV indicators

Sep 18, 2023

USTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health (APH) already looks at wastewater to detect the prevalence of COVID-19, and may start to test for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to APH chief epidemiologist Janet Pichette.

“It would be really great to add things like RSV, norovirus and influenza because then that kind of gives us an idea of when our flu season and other seasons start,” Pichette said. “We kind of have an idea with norovirus that we tend to get more gastrointestinal illness occurring in certain months. But we can get an idea of what the background is and kind of monitor the trends over the course of the year.”

Research on the effectiveness of such tests occurred between August 2022 and March 2023 in three Wisconsin cities. The results of that research were published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

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