Yuma Agricultural Center testing wastewater for Candida auris
So far there have not been any positive cases in Yuma County
YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is concerned about a fungus spreading throughout the United States.
It’s called Candida auris, and it can be fatal, especially to people who have underlying health issues.
So far there have been no positive cases in Yuma County.
But public health officials are closely watching the results that come out of the University of Arizona Ag Extension lab in Yuma so they can be prepared.
“Candida auris is a fungus that typically spreads in hospitals or long-term care facilities or close environments,” Brad Schmitz said, the lead researcher on the project.
According to the CDC, there have been 17 cases in Arizona in the last year, and 359 in California.
The CDC also says that healthy people often never know they're infected, making community wastewater testing essential for preventing an outbreak.
“So it’s really easy to look at the general population and see how prevalent a disease is by looking at the sewer system,” Schmitz said.
Technicians like Jasmine Miranda are doing just that, putting our wastewater under the microscope, and looking for Candida auris samples.
“After we’re able to run those plates through the PCR, it takes about an hour and a half to get those results out,” Miranda said.
Meaning public health officials can quickly respond should a case pop up in Yuma County.
“You can learn quite a bit from poop, as long as people are pooping we can find a lot out about our communities," Schmitz said.