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Week 6! A trip to the Maine CDC

This week had a lot of different activities. To start the week I spent a majority of my time working on mosquito identification. There is a large number of unidentified mosquitos in the labs freezer that have either been collected from resting boxes or CDC light/CO 2   traps. Since I am still fairly new at this, I was instructed to help out with the resting box samples as the number of mosquitos collected is generally lower. This is a more effective way to learn since I do not become overwhelmed, and my work can be more accurately double checked by research assistants. Of the mosquitos identified, we have begun to separate the inventory according to where the specimen will be transported to for testing. From July to August or until the first mosquito positive for EEE/WNV,   Culiseta melanura, Cs. morsitans, Culex pipiens, and Cx. restuans , will be sent to the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL). The JCV testing will now be directed to the Federal CDC, but all of t
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Week 5! Mosquitos and Birds

 As the lab has been gearing up for mosquito intensive work, this past week winded down on field work. Preparation, explanation, and identification were major themes this week.  Wells Reserve, sunrise 7/2/24 Mosquito Identification   Starting off, my Monday was almost exclusively focused on mosquito identification. In doing so, I was able to assist a research assistant in the lab in IDing mosquitos collected from CDC light traps. Of the mosquitos I looked at, there was a different purpose in identification then typical, reference specimen. Over time training and reference specimen used by the lab may lose distinguishable body parts including scales, legs, abdomen, and even heads. This makes it difficult to practice skills and use these mosquitos as a reference when identifying specimen to send to the state for testing. The majority of mosquitos I sorted were  Coquillettidia perturbans  which is a vector for West Nile virus (WNV). In the sample sorted there was 75 mosquitos with 47 that

Week 4! A Lot Is Going On

 Hi everyone, and welcome back! We are now one-week away from the midpoint of my internship and everything is ramping up! Next week I will be in the midst of mosquito season as our state surveillance will be taking greater priority. This means that I will be spending more time driving to sites to place and collect from traps. This traps will include resting boxes and light/CO 2  traps which I have previously mentioned, and a third, called a gravid trap. I will get into this more when it is applicable, but much of this past week has consisted of helping in preparation for the mosquito season.    As the week began, I spent almost 2 whole days at the Wells Reserve. While as some of you may remember, on Tuesday mornings I have been participating in bird banding by way of collecting exotic tick samples, this week had an additional duty. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with some members of the UMaine Cooperative Extension as they began to establish a long-term tick surveillance sit

Week 3! Bird Banding

 As I alluded to last week, I went bird banding! Well, in a way. Bird banding is a practice where an ornithologist or someone who is otherwise certified, places a numbered band/ring on the right leg of a bird. This identification acts as a way to track where this bird has migrated to, if collected again. My role in all this was rather limited this week, but essentially I was there for the ticks. Migratory birds become a public/veterinary health concern because they often give a “free ride” to ticks that are native to where the bird may have migrated from. If you have been following along with my post, I often encounter  Ixodes  and  Dermacentor  genus ticks while conducting surveillance. If these birds transported nonnative ticks such as,  Amblyomma americanum  (Lone Star tick) or  Haemaphysalis longicornis  (Asian Longhorned tick), then humans and animals alike may be susceptible to varying introduced pathogens.   Wells Reserve Entrance, Wells, York County, ME This experience is run b

Week 2! Flagging, Flagging, and More Flagging

  Welcome back and thank you for returning to my summer internship blog, to read about what I have been busy with in week 2. If you have been following along you would have noticed that last week’s post was very long and broad detailing my day-to-day tasks. I thought that laying the groundwork in the week 1 post would be beneficial to the rest of the blog, as now I will attempt to dive deeper into some topics, while still explaining what my week was like. I hope you enjoy!   As a quick intro, this week was very heavily centered on Maine state tick surveillance. I went into detail last week on how exactly I have been participating in this, but in case you may have forgot, I have been flagging for ticks! In fact I was fortunate enough to go into the field flagging on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each of these days I visited different sites and on Thursday I made it a double effort. This week I went to Runaround Pond in Durham, ME, Wells Reserve in Wells, ME, Range Pond in Poland, ME,

Week 1! Surveillance, Identification, and Much More

  This post marks the completion of my first week working as an Intern at MaineHealth’s Lyme & Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory. Through this week I was exposed to a variety of methods and data preparation processes. On my first day here I was made aware that, accessioning is everything! What this boils down to is, properly matching samples collected in the field, with corresponding paperwork that will later be entered into a data base. While I have not been introduced to data entry, I have been shown the many ways that if prepared incorrectly or missing information, there may be confusion. Additionally, much of this week has been dedicated to learning how to identify species of mosquitos. I have received a dichotomous key that helps narrow down the identification from genus to species. However, what is most exciting to write about is my week as it pertains to surveillance. This post will dive into my day-to-day experiences touching on both tick and mosquito surveillance, a little o

Welcome To My Summer 2024 NEVBD Internship Blog!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog for summer 2024, I am excited to begin to share my experiences as a Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases (NEVBD) and Cornell University intern.   For a little background on myself, my name is Sam, and I am a recent graduate of Southern New Hampshire University completing a Bachelor's of Science in Biology, with a minor in Public Health. I grew up in Lewiston, Maine where I have lived the majority of my life, and now have relocated to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. While at SNHU I was also a 4-year member of the Men's Lacrosse Team.  As I was completing my undergraduate degree I found myself incredibly fascinated in public health and epidemiological concepts which has led me to this opportunity today. In addition to having a background academically in public health, I have also taken Zoology, Invertebrate Morphology, and Field Ornithology while at SNHU. This has influenced my desire to work with and anima