Giant Rats Can Spot Deadly Diseases

Samuel Reason - October 31st, 2019

A crack team of researchers has been busy training giant rats to save us from deadly diseases. This team from Tanzania has trained African pouched rats to make the life-saving discovery of spotting cases of tuberculosis that are routinely missed by health clinics.

maloriesadventures.com

Riziwan is one of those rats, living in a sleek glass and aluminum cage, when let loose he immediately set to work sniffing out any victims of the deadly disease. Riziwan had in a matter of minutes discovered 13 people who may be inflicted with tuberculosis. This would be life-saving news to the people, as they were all from samples that the health clinic had advised were clear. These giant African pouched rats are saving many lives, working for the Belgian organization Apopo’s TB center in Morogoro, Tanzania.

Saving hundreds of lives is now just a daily routine for these rats. Rizwan is almost a year old and would have been trained since birth to do this job to pick up the smell of the disease – one that is notoriously tough to detect: tuberculosis. To complete his work he is placed in a large cage and then the scientist will place dishes of human spit samples to sniff.

All the samples have been heat treated so there is no risk of infection to either the rats or the humans working in the lab. When he smells the disease he scratches the metal bottom of the cage to indicate that he can smell the disease.

And at the seventh hole, he scratches again, and then once more at the eighth. At this point the training supervisor presses a clicker so that Riziwan receives a reward – this is because one of the samples was a controlled test and was correctly identified. It earns Riziwan his favorite meal a mash of bananas, avocados and rat pellets.

In one day, Riziwan can check 100 samples, and when his work is done for the day he is returned to his large open-air playpen. At this point, the testing cage will be cleaned, and another rat will be brought in to test Riziwan’s findings. On average they discover 40% of TB cases that have been missed by local clinics.

Next Article
  • The Strange And Bizarre Beasts Found In Romania’s Poison Cave

    Deep in south-east Romania, in the Constanta county a little bit away from the Bulgarian border and close to the Black Sea, you will not find much at all. Here lie the barren and desolate plains of Romania. It is completely unremarkable, and nobody lives there, except for one thing: it is home to a...

    Read More
  • Garden Dedicated To Poisonous Plants

    There is a beautiful garden at England’s Alnwick Garden, though you may never want to step inside. It is filled with plants that could kill you it is known as the most dangerous garden on Earth. Funnily it is still known as being one of England’s most visually stunning attractions. ...

    Read More
  • William The Conqueror Was The First Major Environmentalist

    Nearly thousands of years before the first major worldwide environmentalist movements, or save the planet marches, one King was already implementing laws into his kingdom to protect the beauty of the natural land. Yes, William The Conqueror despite being a brutal opponent on the battlefield loved to protect his forests and lands from human pollution....

    Read More
  • The DJs That Prank Called Castro

    In 2004 a popular Miami radio station pranked called the Cuban president Fidel Castro. You would have thought there would have been no way they were able to get him on the line, but with some clever talking they made it through. In the end, the radio station was fined over $4,000 for the broadcast,...

    Read More
  • The Day Of Destiny

    Throughout German history, the 9th of November has always played an immense role. Which is why it is commonly referred to as the Day of Destiny by native Germans. Many important events took place on the 9th of November that shaped German history and their future. On the 9th of...

    Read More
  • The Coolest Cars in Jay Leno’s Garage

    Jay Leno is one of the most recognizable people in the world. He is a world-famous comedian, former host of The Tonight Show, and has a sizable film and voice-acting career under his belt. In the automotive world though, he is famous for having a car collection so good it makes car buffs green with...

    Read More