The University of Minnesota Medical School is working with the Minnesota Department of Health to use the same technology utilized to monitor COVID 19 levels in wastewater, to search for other viral bugs like RSV and influenza.

Dr. Timothy Schacker, vice dean for research at the U of M Medical School told KARE 11 that the first task will be establishing a baseline to gain an understanding of what other viral bugs can be monitored the way COVID was.

“There’s a lot to do. Does influenza get into wastewater in any predictable fashion? We have to answer that question,” Dr. Schacker said. We have to know what the levels mean. So, it’s really what we did at the beginning with SARS-CoV-2, we’re now doing with RSV and influenza.”

Wastewater has become one of the best ways to predict future outbreaks. It reveals the disease surveillance gap between people who contract COVID-19 and don’t report it or seek medical treatment. Getting tested and those who are not and has proved itself in the past to be an accurate predictor of what is yet to come.

Read the full KARE 11 article here