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#538 In-person and Online: Flushed with Insights: The Promising Potential of Poop-Based Testing for Public Health


Dr. Melissa Pierce, Senior Data Scientist, Discovery Partners Institute (she/her)
Dr. Katelyn Leisman, Research Assistant Professor, Northwestern University (she/her)

This event will be in person, but you can also tune in via our usual livestream. Doors open at 6pm. The livestream and announcements will start around 6:30pm CDT.

In-person: TeamWorking, 20 N Upper Wacker Drive, 12th Floor, Chicago IL. Enter the Civic Opera Building using the entrance in the middle of the block between Washington and Madison streets. Take the elevators to the 12th floor.

For more information on our in-person events, please see our COVID Policy.

Illinois has established a wastewater-based epidemiology monitoring network to track COVID-19, flu, and RSV by measuring the amount of viral RNA in wastewater. The initiative is a collaboration between the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the University of Illinois System’s Discovery Partners Institute (DPI). Additional partners include the University of Illinois Chicago, Northwestern University, and Argonne National Laboratory. The program aims to deliver actionable information to public health decision makers to identify trends in pathogen infection levels and SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. It also supports DPH efforts related to pandemic preparedness.

We collect samples from over 100 locations, providing a reliable, non-invasive, and cost-effective way to measure community health, including in areas where clinical testing may be underutilized or unavailable, for 9 million Illinoisians. Our data is publicly available for download on our Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System dashboard. Wastewater sampling occurs at a treatment plant or sewer that provides an anonymous sample representative of an entire community, effectively protecting individual privacy. Wastewater monitoring has become more important with the increased prevalence of at-home testing, the results of which are often not shared with public health agencies.

The Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System (IWSS) provides information on the levels of pathogens in wastewater that can help local communities intervene with protective measures to slow disease spread. As each of us weighs the risks of respiratory illness in our daily lives, we look to public health guidelines and many of us also track public data such as the case rate or hospitalizations in our communities.

RSVP In-person attendees should RSVP beforehand. As occupancy limits permit, walk-ins will be allowed to enter.

Vaccination required In order to keep attendees safe, we will be requiring proof of vaccination at the door. A physical vaccine cards or picture of one will be accepted. If you are not vaccinated, you can tune in to the livestream.

Masks required Attendees will be required to wear a mask. We will provide additional masks if you forget yours.

There will be food! We will be serving chicken, steak and veggie tacos from Atolito’s Tacos!

Agenda and meeting notes
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