Houston Health Department
Rice University
Houston Public Works

Early-warning system to protect and promote human health and inform Houston’s response to viral outbreaks

A lot of progress has been made to protect and promote human health with the most notable result being increased life expectancy. Yet, the emergence of prominent outbreaks of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance have remained as critical threats to global public health today.

To address the challenge of anticipating and responding to prominent outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Houston Wastewater Epidemiology has implemented a comprehensive, cost-effective system to monitor community infection dynamics of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. We are also working to expand the comprehensive wastewater monitoring system to target influenza, mpox, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and other pathogens.

Pilot Wastewater Alert Program HISD Schools


Surveillance has expanded from 20 to 53 jurisdictions across the United States

Technology shows promise for broad-scale analysis of pathogens

How Houston’s public health interventions have been guided by wastewater

New features help Houstonians understand the prevalence of COVID-19, influenza at the community level

October 2023

October 16

California Polytechnic State University, Department of Mathematics
4:00 p.m.

Online trend estimation and detection of trend deviations in sub-sewershed time series of SARS-CoV-2 RNA measured in wastewater

Julia Schedler, Ph.D.
Statistician, Houston Wastewater Epidemiology

October 19

Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute (TEPHI)
Texas Public Health Summit

Kathy Ensor, PhD
Noah G. Harding Professor of Statistics, Rice University

David Persse, MD, FACEP, FAEMS
Public Health Authority & EMS Director City of Houston
Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

Lauren Stadler, PhD
Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Rice University

November 2023

December 2023

January 2024