Sniffer Dogs Could Be New Tool in Fight Against Malaria
Dogs could be a new tool in the fight against Malaria. In a study presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Annual Meeting, sniffer dogs were able to diagnose malaria infections just by sniffing socks worn by infected children.
Researchers had children from Gambia who were infected and uninfected by malaria to wear socks overnight. The socks were shipped to the United Kingdom where they were stored in a freezer for several months while the dogs trained. The dogs correctly identified 70 percent of the infected children and 90 percent of uninfected children just by sniffing those old socks!
In the future, the scientists plan to take samples from people in different parts of Africa to test whether parasites from one part of the continent give off odors that are different from other parts of the continent.