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Medical Entomology

The Medical Entomology Section’s Mission is:

  • To conduct field and laboratory activities of the arthropod-borne diseases surveillance program, that includes all related planning, staffing, coordinating, organizing, directing, monitoring, and controlling activities.
  • To conduct laboratory and field studies to identify and/or monitor selected emerging infectious diseases in South Carolina.
  • To provide expert consultation on arthropods of medical and public health importance to staff and clients
  • To participate in special studies or investigations as needed.
  • To communicate awareness of arthropod-borne diseases to the public and to health and mosquito control officials.

A medical entomologist conducts mosquito surveillance, identification and pooling of all mosquitoes, and coordination of all arbovirus (arthropod-borne virus) surveillance activities. The medical entomologist supervises and manages the state lab’s Emerging Diseases Surveillance Program, which includes surveillance for West Nile virus and other vector-borne diseases of public health importance in South Carolina. The entomologist’s management span includes coordinating the scheduled monthly collections and submissions of mosquitoes to the laboratory for testing with partner organizations located in representative areas of the state. These cooperative collection activities are in addition to the entomologist’s own fieldwork and collections. Management duties and responsibilities include ensuring that adequate and on-going logistical support exist for the increased field and laboratory activities, and coordinating and scheduling laboratory testing in a timely manner. The medical entomologist is responsible for data analysis of mosquito and bird testing and plays an essential role in integrating human and horse surveillance. All bird, human, horse, and mosquito arbovirus cases are mapped using Geographic Information System (GIS) software so that clusters of the disease can be identified.

The entomologist is readily available to provide expert consultation to physicians, veterinarians, nurse practitioners, sanitarians, lab workers, epidemiologists, and other health care and public health professionals regarding the relative public health importance of a variety of insect and arachnid species. The entomologist also speaks at various professional meetings, universities, and schools about the arbovirus surveillance program to increase awareness of arthropod-borne diseases.