Environmental Microbiology (TESTING WASTEWATER FOR DISEASES) with Amy Kirby

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Oh boy. This episode may seeeeem crappy but it is certainly not a waste of your time. We’re not kidding, while the episode is of course wonderful, mostly thanks to our wonderful guests, it is also certainly about poopy wastewater and what we can all learn from it. About those terrific guests: we mostly speak with Dr. Amy E. Kirby, Ph.D., MPH of the frickin’ CDC (yes, that CDC) about the National Wastewater Surveillance System or NWSS. Did you know sewer water is not just a feature of teenage mutant ninja turtle habitats? Epidemiologists have been using the contents of our collectively owned chocolate waterfall to track disease since polio, but it was only in response to COVID-19 that the CDC launched the NWSS “to coordinate and build the nation’s capacity to track the presence of SARS-CoV-2.” So we learn a bit about what all that means, as we talk weird waste, medication levels in the water, whether or not “silent but deadly” is flim flam, and more in this absolutely gushing sluicegate of an ep.

BUT WAIT. That’s not all. We got two little extra guests! First up, your ol’ Dadward did a prank call on Amy Narimatsu of Shorerivers.org, so she has a fun little cameo, and we conclude with previous virology guest, Dr. Shannon Bennett, of the California Academy of Sciences to discuss what’s happening with COVID these days, and why it’s important to stay safe for those who still need protection.

It’s an absolutely bursting septic tank of an episode so… Hang on to your butts.

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Learn more about the CDC's National Wastewater Surveillance System

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Sound editing by Jarrett Sleeper of MindJam Media

Transcripts by Emily White of The Wordary

Website by Kelly R. Dwyer

Theme song by Nick Thorburn

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