CDC airport COVID screening to include flu, RSV detection

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding its Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance (TGS) program to enable early detection of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and other respiratory viruses in no more COVID-19.

According to a passenger terminal on November 8 today report, the CDC will launch a pilot project in the coming months with partners Ginkgo Bioworks and XWELL to monitor more than 30 antimicrobial-resistant viruses, bacteria and pathogens. Under the pilot project, samples that test positive will be subjected to genetic sequencing, the results of which will be uploaded to public health databases to inform policy makers.

The expanded surveillance was initially launched at four major international airports: New York, San Francisco, Boston and Washington DC.

“Expanding the traveler-based genomic surveillance program for influenza, RSV and other pathogens is critical as we approach the fall respiratory season,” said Dr. Cindy Friedman, head of the travel health branch of the CDC. “The TGS program, which began during the Covid-19 pandemic, acted as an early warning system to detect new and rare variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and will do the same for other respiratory viruses to the future. »

Sampling may include voluntary nasal swabs

Launched in 2021, TGS uses three approaches at seven U.S. airports: voluntary nasal swabs of arriving international travelers, wastewater sampling, and air sampling in aircraft cabins. TGS provided early detection of the SARS-CoV-2 BA.2.86 variant days after its global identification, informing public health officials that it had spread to Asia after being transmitted by a traveler from the Japan.

As of September 2023, more than 360,000 air travelers have voluntarily and anonymously participated in TGS, covering flights from more than 135 countries in all World Health Organization regions.

Featured image credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio; Pixels; THANKS!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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