Citizen-scientists: Uncle Sam wants you to fight Zika!

Aedes aegypti mosquito
FILE - This 2006 file photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. The The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, announced new guidance for doctors whose pregnant patients may have traveled to regions with a tropical illness linked to birth defects. Officials say doctors should ask pregnant women about their travel and certain symptoms, and, if warranted, test them for an infection with the Zika virus. The virus is spread through mosquito bites. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

MIAMI (AP) – The mosquitoes that can spread Zika are already buzzing among us. The U.S. government could use some help figuring out exactly where.

There’s little money in government budgets to track the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes. That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to scale up a nationwide experiment in citizen-science.

The Invasive Mosquito Project is recruiting high school students and science teachers to collect mosquito eggs in their communities and upload the data to populate an online map. That provides real-time information about hot spots to help researchers and mosquito controllers respond.

The USDA entomologist coordinating the project also hopes to adapt its lesson plans for middle schools, scout troops and gardening clubs and make mosquito surveys as common as public bird counts for conservation groups.

1 thought on “Citizen-scientists: Uncle Sam wants you to fight Zika!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s