No signs of monkeypox found in Portland Water District sewage

The Portland Water District did not detect the presence of monkeypox virus in sewage samples taken earlier this month, the district reported.

The water district is participating in a new national effort to monitor sewage for monkeypox, influenza A and RSV, another respiratory virus. The water district has also been testing for COVID-19 since July 2020.

The Water District’s East End plant in Portland is likely the only place in the state testing for monkeypox, though dozens of wastewater treatment plants are participating in COVID-19 testing. Wastewater analyzes are considered highly reliable and serve as an early warning system for potential infectious disease outbreaks.

Maine has had a total of 10 monkeypox cases this year. Symptoms may include a rash with pimples, fever, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. The US CDC has reported approximately 22,000 cases of monkeypox nationwide.

Monkeypox is spread through close or intimate contact, including sex, kissing, and direct contact with rashes, scabs, or body fluids.

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