by Sheila Mulrooney Eldred
It’s a picture-perfect summer day in the woods of central Minnesota: 71 degrees, humidity around 73 percent, sunshine dappling the trees and glinting off glimpses of the Mississippi River. But as five scientists pull on white painter suits and start duct-taping the cuffs to their hiking boots, no one is certain if the conditions will be ideal enough to complete their task for the day: catching about 300 ticks, both adults and 150 nymphs.These Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) researchers are teaming up with scientists from the Mayo Clinic for this “tick drag,” gathering samples to bring back to their labs to add to surveillance records and test for disease pathogens, both of which help determine the risk that black-legged ticks pose to people.
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Context: Bobbi Pritt, M.D., spends her work hours identifying and diagnosing infectious diseases. In her free time she celebrates their beauty by creating bug-related artwork and blogging about parasites. You can talk about the art and science of medicine. But few live it out quite like Dr. Pritt. The art-major-turned-parasitologist is director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic. She also has a pretty serious side hustle turning her work into art. Although this is a side hustle that's just about fun and education. You can read more about Dr. Pritt's work here.
Contact: Dana Sparks