FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Fort Myers teen is about to find out if he's won a $50,000 scholarship to any school he wants to go. Carl Nist-Lund is in Washington D.C., competing in the Young Epidemiology Scholars competition.
Nist-Lund is a student from the Canterbury School in Fort Myers is studying the mosquito-born disease known as Dengue Fever. While it's not prevelent in the U.S., it is in Haiti. His concern is earthquake aid workers who could bring it back here.
"50 to 100 million people are infected each year, due to Dengue Fever," Nist-Lund said. He became interested in all of this intense science after hearing about the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. He's looking at ways to get rid of standing water, which is perfect for mosquito breeding.
"I'm assessing the risk aid workers can bring back Dengue Fever to Florida."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dengue Fever has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s, more common on tropical islands. It's also in Haiti, where aid workers from the U.S. may not be able to avoid mosquito bites, which is the best preventative measure according to the CDC.
"What's important about Dengue Fever is that there's no vaccination available," Nist-Lund said. He's presenting his findings to a panel of judges who are epidemiology professors and other health experts, who will eventually choose the two top winners.
"I'm able to learn from other presenters from across the nation and I get to learn from what they're presenting and their ideas," he said.