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Could a giant, spit-sniffing rat save your life?

Maybe — they can be better than humans at diagnosing tuberculosis.

A pilot program in Tanzania is using trained rats to smell TB in sputum samples. Up to 1,000 samples a week are collected from local hospitals by APOPO, a nonprofit that also trains rats to sniff out landmines. Although the TB samples have already been checked by a human under the microscope, the rat pack’s sniff tests have improved disease detection by 44 percent because the clever rodents often find TB that was missed.

 
tasches

Asked by tasches at 5:00 PM on Sep. 9, 2010 in Health

Level 48 (298,202 Credits)
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Answers (5)
  • Cool. I saw a TV show a few weeks ago that showed a dog that could sniff out cancerous skin lesions, it was impressive.
    charliebean

    Answer by charliebean at 5:15 PM on Sep. 9, 2010

  • pretty weird,and pretty cool! Its like the cancer sniffing dogs
    butterflyblue19

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 5:01 PM on Sep. 9, 2010

  • I believe it.We used to have pet rats.They make great pets.But their life span is about 2 years.
    bvannkissy

    Answer by bvannkissy at 5:06 PM on Sep. 9, 2010

  • ummm weird
    itsmesteph11

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 5:10 PM on Sep. 9, 2010

  • Full article: http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/13/4879912-dog-sized-rats-sniff-out-tb-in-patients
    tasches

    Comment by tasches (original poster) at 5:03 PM on Sep. 9, 2010