Monkey pox is spreading in the Bay Area. Stanford wastewater data show area hotspots. | the news

According to Stanford University’s Sewage Coronavirus Alert Network (SCAN), evidence of the monkeypox virus appeared in Bay Area wastewater in mid-June, indicating the presence of the infection.

Stanford’s SCAN monitors the presence of a number of viruses in wastewater, including SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and human metapneumovirus. Monkey pox is the last addition. The virus was found in 10 of the 11 sewers the Stanford researchers studied, including Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Gilroy, Stanford, Silicon Valley Clean Water (in San Mateo County), Davis, Sacramento and two in San Francisco. , according to the data. So far, only the University of California, Davis has given a negative rating.

Monkeypox is a rare virus that causes fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and an itchy or painful rash like pustules and pimples on the face, inside the mouth, and other parts of the body. The rash goes through different stages and the person remains contagious until the rash dries up and disappears. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the illness usually lasts two to four weeks.

The virus is related to chickenpox, but the CDC says it is not the same as chickenpox. It is transmitted through close contact such as touching, especially through sexual intercourse. According to the CDC, the most recent cases have occurred among men who have sex with other men, but it is not considered a sexually transmitted disease.

The SCAN team is collecting the DNA that is part of the virus. They don’t detect live, infectious viruses, only parts of their genetic material, said Alexandria Boehm, a professor in Stanford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who co-leads the SCAN project with Marlene Wolff, an assistant professor of environmental health at Emory University’s Rollins School. public health care.

Palo Alto’s sewer system, which serves the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, East Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, showed detectable levels of DNA starting July 15th and peaked on July 17th. According to information, 20.

On July 21, the Silicon Valley Clean Water Sewer, which serves the cities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and the West Bay Sanitation District, tested positive for monkeypox. Codiga (Stanford), part of the Palo Alto sewer, was detected on July 19th, and Sunnyvale was detected on July 9th and July 17th.

San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose sewers were reportedly hot spots.

The Santa Clara County Department of Public Health also confirms the presence of monkeypox in Santa Clara County. As of July 21, the county has confirmed 31 cases, according to its online dashboard.

Boehm said monkeypox DNA may be present in sewage from other major cities.

Given SCAN’s experience working with wastewater to successfully control RSV and influenza, as well as COVID-19 and its variants, Boehm said it’s not surprising that emerging pathogen targets such as monkeypox DNA appear in wastewater.

“(Monkey) DNA has been documented in a number of human excreta from infected patients, including urine and feces, all of which end up in wastewater. This tool proves that (sewage monitoring) can provide community-level information on the spread of monkeypox,” he said in an email Monday. .

“Right now, when we detect monkeypox DNA, we can’t tell you how many cases there are in the sewers with positive determinations, unless there’s at least one person in the sewer who used the sewage collection system. That’s going to be helpful. We’re going to collect more data and look at trends in MPX (monkeypox) cases.” Look at trends in concentrations when compared to.”

On July 23, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency. As of July 25, there are 16,836 confirmed cases worldwide and 3,487 in the United States, according to the CDC. California is the second highest state with 356 cases; it is surpassed only by New York, which has 990 cases.

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