Research shows that rats can detect tuberculosis in children with higher accuracy than standard microscopy tests
Rats are able to detect whether a child has tuberculosis (TB), and are much more successful at doing this than a commonly used basic microscopy test. These are the results of research led by Georgies Mgode of the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania. The study, published by Springer Nature in Pediatric Research, shows that when trained rats were given children’s sputum samples to sniff, the animals were able to pinpoint 68 percent more cases of TB infections than detected through a standard smear test.
Inspiration for investigating the diagnosis of TB through smell came from anecdotal evidence that people suffering from the potentially fatal lung disease emit a specific odour. According to Mgode, current TB detection methods are far from perfect, especially in under-resourced countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia where the disease is prevalent, and where a reasonably cheap smear test is commonly used. Problems with this type of test are that the accuracy varies depending on the quality of sputum sample used, and very young children are often unable to provide enough sputum to be analysed.
“As a result, many children with TB are not bacteriologically confirmed or even diagnosed, which then has major implications for their possible successful treatment,” explains Mgode. “There is a need for new diagnostic tests to better detect TB in children, especially in low and middle-income countries.”
Previous work pioneered in Tanzania and Mozambique focussed on training African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys ansorgei) to pick up the scent of molecules released by the TB-causing Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium in sputum. The training technique is similar to one used to teach rats to detect vapours released by landmine explosives. In the case of TB, when a rat highlights a possibly infected sample, it is analysed further using a WHO endorsed concentrated microscopy techniques to confirm a positive diagnosis.
Sputum samples were obtained from 982 children under the age of five who had already been tested using a microscopy test at clinics in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam. From the smear tests, 34 children were confirmed to have TB. When the same samples were placed out for the rats to examine, a further 57 cases were detected and then confirmed after being examined under a more advanced light emitting diode fluorescence microscope.
The news about the additional cases confirmed by endorsed concentrated smear microscopy was passed onto the relevant clinics, and efforts were made to track down infected patients so that they could start their much-needed treatment.
“This intervention involving TB screening by trained rats and community based patient tracking of new TB patients missed by hospitals enables treatment initiation of up to 70%. This is a significant proportion given that these additional patients were considered TB negative in hospitals, hence were initially left untreated,” adds Mgode.
Learn more: Rats sniff out TB in children
The Latest on: Tuberculosis
via Google News
The Latest on: Tuberculosis
- IDRI partners with Afrigen Biologics and Biovac to produce tuberculosis vaccine on February 21, 2019 at 1:24 pm
In an effort to produce vaccines where they are needed most, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) is collaborating with the Cape Town, South Africa, based biotechnology startup company Afrigen ... […]
- Government gears up to implement measures to control Tuberculosis on February 20, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Government is committed taking all possible measures to implement the international declaration to control Tuberculosis (TB) and tracing the missing cases, speakers said on Wednesday. An official said ... […]
- University of Missouri reports tuberculosis case on campus on February 19, 2019 at 11:43 am
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri says a student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis and left campus voluntarily. The school said in a news release that campus and local health o... […]
- Student diagnosed with active tuberculosis at University of Missouri on February 18, 2019 at 7:28 pm
Feb. 18--COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri officials announced Monday that a student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis. Load Error The university said the student has voluntarily left t... […]
- MU student diagnosed with tuberculosis on February 18, 2019 at 1:35 pm
COLUMBIA — An unidentified MU student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, the university confirmed in a news release on Monday. The student has voluntarily left campus. "The student has been ... […]
- Missouri student on Columbia campus has active tuberculosis on February 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — University of Missouri officials say a student on the Columbia campus has active tuberculosis and may have infected other people. The school announced Monday that the Boone County ... […]
- Mizzou student has active tuberculosis, school officials say on February 18, 2019 at 12:16 pm
A student at the University of Missouri in Columbia has active tuberculosis and possibly infected others, school officials announced Monday. School officials are investigating the case with the Boone ... […]
- Tuberculosis: Commandeering a Bacterial 'Suicide' Mechanism on February 18, 2019 at 11:13 am
The bacteria responsible for tuberculosis can be killed by a toxin they produce unless it is neutralized by an antidote protein. The European team of scientists behind this discovery is coordinated by ... […]
- Mizzou student living in dorm room diagnosed with tuberculosis on February 18, 2019 at 10:57 am
COLUMBIA, MO (KCTV) -- University of Missouri officials are warning students and parents after a campus dorm resident contracted active tuberculosis. In a letter Monday from MU Residential Life Housin... […]
via Bing News