Public health officials seek adventurous science students

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Every spring, Lorain County Public Health begins a search for adventurous college students studying science.

Environmental health interns spend the summer out in the field acting as a first line of defense against mosquito-borne diseases like the West Nile virus.

They work under the supervision of registered sanitarians to identify mosquito breeding sites, trap mosquitoes and provide treatment in areas where mosquitoes could spread disease.

Last summer, the county health department’s interns learned a lot about mosquitoes — for example, that scientists have identified more than 200 species here in Ohio. Those interns were part of the team that trapped an Asian Tiger mosquito, which had never before been found as far north as Lorain County.

Interns visited dump sites with scrap tires, which are among the most popular breeding grounds for mosquitoes. They also visited public areas and private homes to respond to resident concerns about mosquitoes.

The internship also offers opportunities to shadow professionals from other divisions within Lorain County Public Health. Summer 2019 interns reported surprise at the breadth of public health services in Lorain County, from birth certificates to solid waste programs to rabies response.

College students can apply for this hands-on experience at www.employment.loraincountyhealth.com.

Here’s some advice from last year’s interns:

Be prepared for the heat and wear bug spray.

Have an open mind and flexible personality. The world of public health often changes quickly which makes for crazy days.

Be ready for bad smelling water.

Stay out of creeks and always wear boots.