Students Search For West Nile Fever In Mosquitoes

Marshall University students are not interested in too much fun this summer, as some are actually spending their break counting mosquitoes.

One of the three Marshall University environmental science majors who are participating in the project, Chris Chadwick, said the group has often counted 1,800 in just one day.

The group begins by heading out to the Huntington Wastewater Management facility and catching mosquitoes that are trapped in nets where they are then taken to the health department.  At the health department they are labeled, frozen, and set to a Charleston lab to be evaluated for disease.

The aim of the project is to allow the health department to identify potential health threats such as West Nile virus and St. Louis and LaCrosse encephalitis in mosquitoes that commonly carry the significant health threats.

Elizabeth Ayers, the public information officer for the health department, stated that the students are able to help study more mosquitoes at a time which allows them to monitor potential health threats much better.

Chadwick is joined by interns Taylor Brewer and Autumn Starcher who track down insects that reside in a swamp close to the Fox Fire Resort, the Huntington wastewater facility, and the Madison Avenue landfill.