Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences


This study focused on the infection rate of West Nile virus of Culex tarsalis populations at Medicine Lake Wildlife Refuge (MLWR) and Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge (NWR). My research was done in order to determine if there was a statistical difference in the infection rate between NWR and MLWR via a bias corrected ML estimate. These locations were chosen because they were ideal locations for West Nile virus (WNV) and in the case of MLWR, past positive C. tarsalis pools. My study involved trapping mosquitoes, sorting out the C. tarsalis, and isolating WNV from mosquito homogenate. Once C. tarsalis had been sorted, they were homogenized and total RNA was extracted. This RNA was analyzed for WNV by using a TAQman assay RT PCR. My research indicated that there was no statistical difference in the relative infection rate between MLWR and NWR. Positive samples were found at Bowdoin, Fort Belknap, MLWR, and NWR as part of an active monitoring program for West Nile virus in Montana.