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
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Was Called The Slit Nosed

    Justinian II or as many called him The Slit Nosed, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty. This was a dynasty that took place from 685 to 695, and then again from 705 to 711. Justinian II had extremely ambitious plans and was passionate about growing the empire. His aim was to restore...

    Read More
  • Great Depression Started Dance Marathons For Food

    Events that offered the promise of food and money during the Great Depression attracted people like flies. As a result, huge dance marathons would happen where the winners would get food. The problem was everyone was starving with no solution in sight, they were all determined to win. This caused many dancers to suffer from...

    Read More
  • France’s Deadly WWI Red Zone

    The Zone Rouge, or Red Zone as it is known in English, is a quarantine area throughout Northeastern France that the government decided was inhabitable after World War I. Though the area is non-contiguous, it was deemed unfit for life. Originally, the land covered over 1,200 square kilometers. All of it was considered too damaged...

    Read More
  • Sally Ride First American Women In Space

    On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space. She launched with her four crewmates on the Shuttle Challenger, on mission STS-7. The ride had been selected with five other women to be part of NASA’s space program back in 1978. With the advances of the space shuttles...

    Read More
  • Reindeer In A WW2 Submarine

    One of the more unusual moments of World War II was when a British submarine transported around a reindeer it had been given by the Russians as a gift. In 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident was given a reindeer by the USSR navy. The reindeer then spent the next 6 weeks living with...

    Read More
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand Killed Over 300,000 Animals While Hunting

    Over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Astro Hungarian throne was a crazy guy called Franz. Well Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be exact, his assassination led to the turn of events that caused the start of World War I. Pulling in the Russian Empire, Germany, France, Italy, China, and the U.S. into one...

    Read More
  • The Legend Of Snake Rock In Naka Cave

    Naka Cave is found in Phu Langka National Park in Thailand, and in Thai it means snake. There is a real reason for this, the cave looks like a giant snake. The texture of the stones appears to resemble the scaled skin of a snake. Over the years there have been hundreds of articles publishing...

    Read More