HOUSTON — The Houston Health Department is expected to start wastewater testing for the monkeypox virus in the coming weeks, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Wednesday.
The announcement comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized HHD as a national center of excellence for its wastewater testing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This initiative allowed HHD to identify and contain the (COVID-19) virus from spreading in our community. I want to commend HHD and all the partners for their hard work and dedication to protecting Houstonians," Turner said.
Turner said the testing will be expanded to monkeypox within two to three weeks when more supplies come in.
"They now have the technology and the ability to determine the level of monkeypox in the city of Houston through this wastewater system," he said. "Just like they did for COVID, they will now be doing it for monkeypox."
Turner said the city will allocate funds to HHD specifically for monkeypox wastewater testing.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there have been 161 confirmed cases of monkeypox across the Houston area as of Aug. 2. There have been 454 cases across the state.