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animal helpers in tuberculosis testing

October 12, 2013

Rats are not common this far north. But if they were, maybe they could help us with TB testing. In Africa, rats are sniffing TB way faster than human technicians can see it under a microscope. In fact, a single trained rat can do in 10 minutes what would take a trained human a whole day. Rats are also catching false negatives, which means that people who could otherwise have become sick and spread the disease are able to be treated.


From my friend Lee-Anne in Kenya, here’s how rats have been trained to help with human problems like TB screening and reclaiming land from minefields.

From the apopo NGO’s website, here’s how rats are finding TB, and here’s how they are trained to do it. Why rats? They’re smart, local, plentiful and more.

I wonder what innovative, respectful ways people will find to work with what is already here in the North.

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