On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Avery Tilley from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Avery’s interest in conservation medicine, wildlife disease, and public health spurred him to investigate if white-tailed deer could be used to predict West Nile virus risk to humans. With recent studies discussing how certain species can act as a warning or monitoring system for various diseases, Avery’s research is investigating if white-tailed deer might be able to serve as one such monitoring species for West Nile virus. By utilizing a GPS collared deer, the deer’s blood serum, and some various computer software, Avery can determine where infected deer spend more time, lending insights into what habitats and locations might have a higher risk for West Nile virus in the coming seasons. Make sure to listen in order to better understand how Avery is using the white-tailed deer to predict West Nile virus risk to humans and what this might mean for the future of disease monitoring.
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