ARIZONA NEWS

Tempe starts testing wastewater for common viruses, including influenza

Nov 29, 2023, 1:59 PM

Tempe has begun testing its wastewater for common viruses, such as influenza. (Pexels Photo)...

Tempe has begun testing its wastewater for common viruses, such as influenza. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — Tempe has begun testing its wastewater for common viruses, such as influenza, and vector-borne diseases.

The East Valley city’s Wastewater BioIntel Program added a total of 12 new signals, which are categorized into three main sections.

Tempe had already been testing its wastewater for opioids, COVID-19 and Xylazine, a drug that is showing up in more

The goal of the program is to protect public health and improve quality of life in the city.

“Studying wastewater provides cities, emergency responders and health partners with actionable data even before data from doctor’s offices or hospitals get reported to public health officials,” Wydale Holmes, director of strategic management and innovation office, said in a press release.

“Wastewater data can be an important early warning signal and is most useful when used alongside other community-level data.”

What new viruses is Tempe testing in its wastewater?

The three main categories Tempe has started testing its wastewater for are respiratory viruses, gastrointestinal viruses and vector-borne illnesses.

Respiratory illnesses include influenza and RSV. Gastrointestinal viruses that are being tested for are Hepatitis A and norovirus.

Vector-borne illnesses are transmitted to human from mosquitos, ticks and fleas. West Nile virus is the vector-borne illness tested in the wastewater.

Adenovirus, pan-adenovirus and enterovirus are also part of the new testing markers.

How can Tempe wastewater information be found?

Tempe has an online dashboard for public data consumption.

Data is gathered in 11 collection areas across the city.

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Tempe starts testing wastewater for common viruses, including influenza