From COVID to fungus to drugs, wastewater monitoring is a game-changer for epidemiology

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, April 27, 2023 - 1:24pm

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Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture wastewater monitoring
Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture
Beyond COVID-19, the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture has expanded its wastewater monitoring program to help its community deal with other public health concerns such as influenza; RSV; and now the drug-resistant fungus Candida auris.

The University of Arizona’s Yuma Center for Excellence for Desert Agriculture led the nation in using wastewater to monitor community COVID-19 transmission at the height of the pandemic. But the technology didn’t end there.

Today, researchers at the center are using human wastewater to track a dangerous fungal outbreak you might have heard of lately: Candida aura.

And from tracking opioid use to antibiotic resistance, those are just a few of the many uses we’re seeing for this kind of wastewater-based epidemiology.

The Show spoke more about it with Bradley Schmitz, a visiting researcher who’s the project lead in Yuma.

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