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Dogs Can Detect Malaria. How Useful Is That?

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Dogs have such exquisitely sensitive noses that they can detect bombs, drugs, citrus and other contraband in luggage or pockets.

Is it possible that they can sniff out even malaria? And when might that be useful?

A small pilot study has shown that dogs can accurately identify socks worn overnight by children infected with malaria parasites — even when the children had cases so mild that they were not feverish.

The study, a collaboration between British and Gambian scientists and the British charity Medical Detection Dogs, was released last week at the annual convention of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

In itself, such canine prowess is not surprising. Since 2004, dogs have shown that they can detect bladder cancer in urine samples, lung cancer in breath samples and ovarian cancer in blood samples.



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