The Portland Water District did not detect the presence of the monkeypox virus in wastewater samples collected early this month, the district reported.

The water district is participating in a new national effort to monitor wastewater for monkeypox, influenza A and RSV, another respiratory virus. The water district has also been testing for COVID-19 since July 2020.

The water district’s East End plant in Portland is likely the only location in the state to be testing for monkeypox, although dozens of wastewater plants are participating in COVID-19 testing. Wastewater testing is considered very reliable and an early warning system for potential outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Maine has recorded a total of 10 monkeypox cases this year. Symptoms can include a rash with pimples, fever, headache, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. The U.S. CDC has reported about 22,000 monkeypox cases nationwide.

Monkeypox is spread through close or intimate contact, including sex, kissing and direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids.

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